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.
As temperatures go down, remember that the threat of the common cold and influenza traditionally rises. The nation’s emergency physicians want to make sure you know the difference between the two and what, if anything, you can do to prevent from getting either.
At what point does a fever or stomach ache become a medical emergency?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shock is a serious, often life threatening medical condition and a leading cause of death for critically ill or injured people.
Snake bites can be life-threatening if the snake is poisonous. Venomous 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 emergency.
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.
The first step in getting you treated in an emergency room is testing your vital signs. It is helpful for the doctor if you know what your “normal” vital signs are.
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.
A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else's life or limb in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious impairment of health. Here is some information to help you decide if you should call 911.
Emergency physicians are medical professionals who are dedicated to saving lives and providing the highest quality of care to all their patients.