When Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

Knowing when an injury or illness is serious enough to visit the Emergency Room (ER) can be a difficult decision.  The following are tips to help you decide when an ER visit is warranted:

  • heart attack symptoms (pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in center of chest; tightness, burning or aching under breastbone; chest pain with lightheadedness)
  • stroke symptoms (sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg on one side; sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye, loss of speech, trouble talking or understanding speech; sudden severe headache; unexplained dizziness)
  • shortness of breath
  • sudden or severe pain
  • uncontrolled bleeding
  • coughing or vomiting blood
  • severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • poisoning or suspected drug overdose (if possible, call poison control for immediate treatment advice)
  • suicidal/homicidal thoughts or actions
  • serious burns or cuts
  • broken bones
  • neck or head injury
  • seizure
  • temperature of 103o or greater
  • severe/worsening reaction to insect bite/sting or medication

For non life-threatening illness or injury contact your PMG Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or Pediatrician for advice as to when/where to receive care.