Serious burns or cuts
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should definitely go to the emergency room
It’s fairly common for people to ask, Should I go to the ER or not? when they are faced with an injury that may be serious but isn’t life-threatening. The answer isn’t always straightforward, and sometimes depends on things like the amount of pain you’re in and whether you have broken bones, especially if they are sticking out of your skin. Here are some situations where it’s worth going to the ER and some where it isn’t. Make sure to check out our other posts about symptoms you should never ignore!
Things you shouldn’t ignore
Severe bleeding, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and confusion, shortness of breath and chest pain (especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms), seizures, altered level of consciousness. These are all life-threatening situations that should be addressed immediately by going to an emergency room. If any of these occur on a weekend or in a remote area without a hospital nearby, call 911 for help. You should also go to ER if you have long-term issues such as elevated blood pressure (if you’re not on medication) or Type 2 diabetes that haven’t been well controlled by your doctor.
Things you can wait on but shouldn’t
A sprain that doesn’t involve a joint, including wrists and ankles; sprains on joints (like knees) can be treated by a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal injuries. A twisted ankle. Chipped teeth. In most cases, you can wait to see if they get worse before deciding whether to go to an ER. For all other non-emergencies, please visit your primary care physician for diagnosis and treatment.
Non urgent but important things that should be addressed
chronic pain, a boil that’s been growing in size, chronic ear infections. In other words, every situation is going to be different, and every doctor will have a different opinion of when it’s okay to be seen by your primary care physician and when you should go straight to an ER. When in doubt about whether to visit your doctor or head for emergency care, ask yourself: Is your injury serious? Could it get worse if left untreated? Could it interfere with your daily life if left untreated? The more yes answers you have, the more likely it is that an ER visit is warranted.