How to Choose Where to Go in an Emergency

When minutes matters, knowing where to go can make all the difference.

Emergency care plays a vital role within the healthcare system, often serving as the primary gateway to essential or even lifesaving treatment. Despite this, hospital emergency rooms are often overlooked until after an urgent situation arises.

While primary care physicians or urgent care facilities may be better suited to treating minor conditions, a trip to the ER is a better choice for a range of all-too-common emergencies, including bone breaks, significant burns or cuts, serious infections or allergic reactions, prolonged fevers or gastrointestinal issues, and symptoms of a potentially life-threatening illness such as signs of respiratory, cardiovascular, or neurological distress.

In emergency care, minutes can make the difference between life and death. Quickly choosing an emergency department during a crisis can be difficult, and a decision is better made beforehand based upon factors including a hospital’s designation as a specialized emergent care facility.

When to go to the Emergency Room or call 911:

  1. Chest pain or pressure
  2. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  3. Uncontrolled bleeding
  4. Severe injuries or pain
  5. Loss of consciousness or fainting
  6. Confusion or sudden severe headache
  7. Seizures or convulsions
  8. Compound fractures or broken bones
  9. Deep cuts or open wounds
  10. High fever with vomiting and/or diarrhea
  11. Severe allergic reactions
  12. Signs of stroke or heart attack
  13. Poisoning or an overdose from drugs or alcohol
  14. Prolonged dizziness or weakness
  15. Sudden inability to speak, see, hear, walk, or move

Learn about Emergencies and Children

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