October 12, 2013 | Posted in Basics, Men's Health, Pediatrics, Women's Health

People in most parts of the United States have access to emergency care for serious illnesses.
In some cases, quick action is directly responsible for a good outcome, as when a stroke occurs: ‘Time is Brain’ is the saying.


The following is a partial list of symptoms which should be dealt with by immediate visit to urgent care or emergency room.

These are not conditions to treat with online advice!

  • confusion or diminished consciousness (lethargy), or altered level of consciousness,
  • chest pain, or pressure,
  • shortness of breath,
  • abdominal pain with fever,
  • severe abdominal pain even without fever,
  • significant eye pain,
  • severe difficulties with swallowing,
  • when symptoms do not improve in two days or get worse,
  • mechanical fall if person is on a blood thinner,
  • head injury especially with loss of consciousness.

Having an established primary care provider who knows you can help avoid some urgent care and emergency room visits, because you can usually be seen quickly in a primary care office.  But if you do not have a primary care provider, or there is a delay, it is better to be seen quickly with the above symptoms and go to the urgent care or emergency room.

The very young and very old and those who are ill are far more vulnerable.  For these persons it is more urgent to quickly obtain care.

Call an ambulance if the person is in a state of collapse.  An ambulance or emergency medical services responder can initiate treatments in the home, saving time.

It is helpful to call the facility (urgent care or emergency room) while you are on your way in order to notify them of the type of problem and your likely time of arrival.

Do not be embarrassed at seeking help, or intimidated by possible waiting time. Know that in the emergency room patients are seen first by the level of severity of symptoms.

A family member or friend can help a great deal by advocate for the person who is sick, and clearly state the medical situation and its urgent aspects.

Take all medications and supplements or remedies to the ER or Urgent Care center, and your list of allergies. Take your health insurance card and your picture identification, and contact numbers for family members.

Advance directives save a lot of confusion, and ambulance teams commonly look on the refrigerator for medical information when they arrive at a home.  You can post list of meds, allergies, etc., with advance directives on the refrigerator.  Your primary care doctor and power of attorney should also have copies.

Thanks to Kimberton Clinic, Kimberton, PA, for early version of this information.

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Thanks to Kimberton Clinic 610 933 0708 792


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