When to Use the ER? Sudden or Severe Pain

When to Use the ER? Sudden or Severe Pain

Statistics from National Centre for health show that most of the patients who visit the Emergency Room (ER) are not in need of immediate care. An emergency that requires treatment in the ER should be a serious problem that requires immediate help to prevent death or any other serious harm. Below are some instances when you should visit the ER.

A headache

The occasional headache does not warrant a trip to the ER. However, if you have sudden and intense pain in your head and you feel like you are being struck by lightning or hit by a hummer and the headache is accompanied by neck pain, a rash, stiffness or fever, you should visit the ER. These could be signs of something serious such as meningitis or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Chest Pain

Heart attacks are the leading killer for women and men, and sudden chest pain can be scary. This is one of the leading cause of visits to the ER. However, it is good to know the kind of chest pain that warrants a visit to the ER. If the chest pain is accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath, decreased tolerance for activity or pain on the arms, jaw or neck, then you should visit the ER. Additionally, if your family has a history or higher risk of heart attacks do not waste time going to a care clinic as they will probably send you to the ER.

Difficulty Breathing

Shortness of breath might be caused by asthma, infection such as pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Shortness of breath is an immediate cause of alarm and if you can’t breathe, head to the ER immediately.

Cuts, Falls, And Bumps

Whether you have a deep cut from a car accident or you missed your step on the stairs, and you can see bone, tendon or muscle do not try to solve the problem at home. Get such problems addressed at the ER to prevent secondary complications.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is the number one non-injury reason for ER visits for adults. If you have localized pain more so in your right lower abdomen area or the right upper region, visit the ER as this could be from issues with the gallbladder or appendix which will need immediate attention. Abdominal pain that is accompanied by blood in the stool, the inability to keep down fluids or food, or if the pain is too severe, warrants a visit to the ER.


ER visits due to infection are determined by how severe the symptoms are. For instance, if there is confusion, low blood pressure, lethargy and the inability to tolerate any fluids and foods, these may be signs of a bad infection. Infections such as meningitis, sepsis, pneumonia, and infections in those with a weak immune system should be treated at the ER.

Loss of Function

This might be characterized by slack facial muscles, numbness in some body parts or loss of bowel control. If a part of the body just stops working overtime or suddenly, it is good to seek medical help. Stroke and trauma are two of the most common causes of loss of function, and both of them require immediate medical attention.


This is a problem that is often dealt with at home. However, if the vomit has blood, accompanied by severe stomach pain or is dark green suggesting bowel obstruction, get to the ER.

Blood In The Stool Or Urine

Blood in the urine can be due to an infection such as a kidney infection or a urinary tract infection. Blood in your stool can be a sign of serious illness such as hemorrhoids, cancer, inflammation, or ulcers. If the blood is accompanied by fatigue or a rash, fever, intense pain or large amounts of blood, it is best to go to the ER.


A fever is often an indication that you are sick. It is a healthy sign that the body is trying to respond to the problem. However, the infection behind a fever can warrant a visit to the ER. If the fever is accompanied by lethargy especially if it is a child or neck pain, headache or altered mental status for adults, it should be treated at the ER.

Other life-threatening symptoms that should see you visiting the ER include:

Bleeding that won’t stop
Broken bones
Animal bite
Drug overdose
Difficulty seeing, breathing, speaking or moving
Bleeding or pain during pregnancy or severe labor
Severe burns or deep cuts
Confusion or changes in vision or mental status
Suicidal thoughts.

Treatment for patients with non-urgent conditions at the ER can lead to delays in the provision of care for those who truly need the ER services. ER visits are also expensive. Often two or five times more expensive than care in a primary care facility. Additionally, a visit to the ER can expose a not-so-sick person to infections and diseases that are rampant in the ER section. Today alternatives such as primary care doctors and urgent care centers exist to provide the most appropriate care for patients who might not need the ER services. However, if you experience any of the symptoms discussed above do not hesitate to visit Bellaire ER for urgent and the most appropriate care for your condition.