According to the CDC, “one in five Americans report visiting the emergency room at least once in the past year.” But are all of those visits necessary – and if not, how do you tell when an emergency is truly an emergency that requires after-hours treatment or if it can wait until the next morning?
When you should go to the ER:
- Broken bones and dislocated joints
- Deep cuts that require stitches- especially on the face
- Head or eye injuries
- Severe flu or cold symptoms
- High fevers
- Fevers with rash
- Fevers in infants
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Severe pain, particularly in the abdomen or starting halfway down the back
- Bleeding that won’t stop or a large open wound
- Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- Repeated vomiting
- Serious burns
- Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy
When you shouldn’t go to the ER:
- Symptom onset is gradual
- You already know that diagnosis but are unable to get a same-day appointment with your primary care physician
- Conditions that are not life- or limb- threatening, but require immediate care
- Sore throats
- Urinary tract infections
- Mild asthma
- Rash without fever
- Broken bones of the wrist, hand, ankle or foot that have no obvious need to reset and have not broken the skin.
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