You just twisted your ankle. Your child is complaining of a sore throat. Your spouse suddenly has chest pain.
Knowing the warning signs of a medical emergency and when to seek emergency care can save lives!
Seven Warning Signs of a Medical Emergency
A medical emergency is any condition that, if left untreated, could cause severe harm or even death. Getting immediate help can mean the difference between a relatively simple cure or treatment and a more complicated and costly intervention. Each year in the United States more than a half million people die because they don’t seek emergency care soon enough after a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening situation. Know the seven signs of a medical emergency best treated in an emergency room:
- Sudden or severe pain, including chest pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sudden confusion or disorientation
- Coughing or vomiting blood, severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Uncontrolled bleeding of any kind
- Headache with stiff neck or fever
- Sudden dizziness, weakness, numbness, or change in vision
Heart Attack Symptoms
If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Here is a list of heart attack symptoms and what to do while you wait for help.
Recognize Stroke Symptoms and B.E. F.A.S.T
Balance: Sudden loss of coordination or balance
Eyes: Sudden change in vision
Face: Weakness on one side or facial droop
Arm or leg: Weakness or numbness
Speech difficulty: Slurred or trouble understanding speech
Terrible headache: Sudden onset
If you or someone you know have sudden onset of any of these symptoms, call 911 right away.
Still not sure if you should call 911?
- Is the patient’s condition life-threatening?
- Could the patient’s condition worsen and become life-threatening on the way to the hospital?
- Could moving the patient cause further injury?
- Does the patient require the skills or equipment of emergency personnel?
- Could distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the patient to the hospital?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” or if you are unsure, it’s best to call 911.