Emergency Care For You

Emergency 101

What To Do In A Medical Emergency

At what point does a fever or stomachache become a medical emergency? If you slice your finger with a knife, or you are having the worst headache you’ve ever had, should you seek emergency care? How do you know?

The following is advice for how to handle common emergency medical conditions. This section does not contain all the signs or symptoms of medical emergencies, and the advice is not intended to be a substitute for consulting with a medical professional. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek immediate medical attention.

Sort by:

The nation’s dwindling mental health resources are contributing significantly to increased wait times and longer emergency department stays for patients having psychiatric emergencies, including children.

- 5/12/2015

Suspected neck or back (spinal cord) injuries should be taken seriously because of the risk of paralysis and even death. When someone has a head or neck injury, he or she should not be moved because movement may cause further damage.

- 5/12/2015

A nosebleed, especially one that arises spontaneously in a child, can be alarming, but most nosebleeds are not serious and often look much worse than they really are.

- 9/16/2015

More than 500,000 people seek emergency care each year in the United States because of poisoning either accidental or deliberate and nearly 30,000 people die. Unintentional poisoning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in America.

- 8/19/2015

Most cuts are minor, but it is still important to properly care for them. Sometimes it's hard to determine what wounds can be treated at home and which require a trip to the emergency department.

- 5/12/2015

Rashes (also called skin lesions or erythema) have a variety of causes and involve changes in skin color and texture, and can be quite common, especially in children.

- 6/10/2015

Drowning occurs most often among small children and people who can't swim, but even experienced swimmers may be susceptible, depending on weather conditions, water currents, their health and other circumstances.

- 5/12/2015

Seizures involve sudden involuntary alterations in behavior or consciousness resulting from excessive electrical activity in the brain. Seizures are common in persons who have epilepsy and normally last two to three minutes.

- 5/12/2015

Shock is a serious, often life threatening medical condition and a leading cause of death for critically ill or injured people.

- 8/19/2015

Snake bites can be life-threatening if the snake is poisonous. Poisonous snakes found in the United States include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouth water moccasins and coral snakes. If you see a snake, do not touch it, but instead, back away from it slowly.

- 5/12/2015

Sore throats and their hallmark signs including dry scratchiness, redness, swelling and painful swallowing that go with them are typically a symptom of a common underlying illness such as colds or the flu.

- 5/12/2015

A ligament is the tissue that connects a bone to a joint, and a sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Sprain is an injury to ligaments , while strains are stretch injury to the muscle.

- 5/12/2015

Stroke is a life threatening condition that constitutes a medical emergency. It is the third leading cause of death in the nation. Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a clogged or burst artery.

- 5/13/2015

Occasional passing thoughts about death or suicide usually are harmless, particularly in people who otherwise seem healthy and happy, with no signs of depression, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse or crises in their lives.

Although sunlight in small doses (15 to 20 minutes per day) is vital to a person's health, damage caused by spending too much time in the sun can be dangerous, as well as irreversible and can result in a medical

Dental emergencies typically involve pain or injury to the teeth, gums, lips or cheek and tongue. Sometimes an infection is involved. In any case, any significant pain or injury to the mouth or the teeth should not be ignored.

- 5/13/2015

Vomiting and diarrhea (symptoms of gastroenteritis) may be caused by a virus or bacteria. Food poisoning also can cause these symptoms. Viral illnesses usually run their course without medical treatment while food poisoning, if severe, may require medical attention.