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what is an emergency

How do you decide whether you should go to the emergency department or your physician? While there are no clear-cut answers, experts agree that you should trust your instincts. If a situation seems serious, it probably is. Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance or get to an emergency room immediately. It's better to be sure than take a chance.

Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance if you have:

  • Life threatening injury/illness
  • Physical limitations preventing you from getting the patient to hospital
  • Doubts about your ability to drive safely to the emergency room
  • Fear the patient may need medical intervention before you can get to the hospital

Go to the emergency department if you have:

  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Sudden dizziness or weakness
  • Major trauma
  • Severe head wound
  • Amputation
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty breathing or look bluish around the mouth
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Severe and/or persistent vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Severe burns
  • Foreign object swallowed or otherwise lodged in the body
  • Abdominal pain coupled with a fever
  • Seizures
  • Poisoning
  • Possible suicide or mental disorder

Seek immediate care if you have:

  • Minor cut requiring stitches
  • Foreign matter in eyes or ears
  • Possible infection requiring a lab test (for example: strep throat, respiratory infection)
  • Broken bone
  • Severe sprain
  • Minor burn
  • Skin rash
  • High fever
  • A minor condition that worsens over the weekend or during a holiday when your primary care physician is not available

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