Most of the time abdominal pain comes from simple indigestion, mild food poisoning, or a viral infection and may require no emergency intervention. If acute abdominal pain is accompanied by cold and sweaty skin, a weak or rapid pulse, persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, your condition might be serious. Go to the Emergency Department.
Alcohol consumed in large quantities or over a long period of time may result in a host of medical emergencies. When an alcoholic stops drinking cold turkey, life-threatening seizures or delirium tremors (DTs) can result. In instances like this, get to the Emergency Department at once.
If you break out in hives, become flushed and swollen, feel weak, or have difficulty breathing after eating a meal, receiving an injection, being stung by an insect, or taking medication, you may be having an extreme allergic reaction. Get to the Emergency Department at once by calling 911.
ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
If someone seems disoriented and confused and cannot tell you his or her name, present location, and the date, get them to the Emergency Department immediately.
If any part of the body, a limb, fingertip, or flap of skin is amputated, place that part in a sealable plastic bag filled with ice water and bring it with you to the Emergency Department at once.
If back pain is so severe it prevents walking or is associated with loss of sensation or control of the bladder, bowel, or leg movements, a hospital evaluation is critical. Those who suffer back pain as the result of trauma, such as a fall from a horse or car crash, must get to the Emergency Department at once via 911 transport. A fracture of vertebrae or a spinal cord injury must be treated immediately.
All bites are dangerous. If bitten by a dog, spider, snake, raccoon, other animal or a human, get to the Emergency Department immediately to avoid any life-threatening infection.
If you are vomiting blood, discharging blood in the stool or urine, having prolonged or serious vaginal bleeding, or are bleeding from a large, open wound, go to the Emergency Department at once.
BREAKS AND SPRAINS
If you think you have fractured a bone, a trip to the Emergency Department is advised. In general, a painful injury that causes obvious deformity to an extremity or body part, like an ankle or wrist, must be X-rayed and promptly evaluated by a physician. In rare circumstances, broken bones may literally be life-threatening. Dislocation of the hip, which may threaten blood and nerve supply to the legs, requires immediate attention at a hospital. If a suspected break (especially in the pelvic area), is accompanied by severe pain and lightheadedness, call 911; there may be some internal bleeding.
If you experience breathing difficulty, call 911. Disruption of the respiratory system can be fatal and emergency care is needed immediately.
Small bruises, which may be characterized by swelling, black-and-blue marks, or hematomas (blood pooling beneath the skin) do not require emergency care. However, if the bruise is large enough, swelling beneath the skin can result in serious damage to tissues and vital organs. In this case, you should go to the Emergency Department for treatment.
Also, if you have a rash that looks like bruises or bruises appear without any trauma, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Many burns caused by an open flame, a hot liquid, or a hot object can be treated at home. Smoke from a burning flame can also cause severe respiratory problems which should be treated immediately. However, if the burn has affected the face, hands, feet or genitalia, covers more than an inch or so of the body, or is blistered, get to the Emergency Department at once.
CHEST INJURY CAUSED BY TRAUMA
Anytime the chest has been injured in an accident, get to the Emergency Department immediately.
CRUSHING CHEST PAIN
Chest pain may signal a heart attack. Although your chest pain may simply be indigestion, you should never disregard it. If unexplained chest pain persists for more than 5-10 minutes; is associated with nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath or sweating; radiates to the neck or down the arm; or if there is a feeling of a crushing weight on the chest, get to the Emergency Department at once via 911 transport.
Cuts require emergency care when they are more than half an inch long, when bleeding does not stop, or when they are on a functionally important part of the body like the hands or feet.
Go to the Emergency Department immediately.
If the patient is an infant, senior citizen, or has an underlying illness and the primary care physician is unavailable, go to the Emergency Department for a fever of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If the fever is associated with persistent pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, breathing problems or red hot, tender swollen joints, go to the Emergency Department at once. Do not give aspirin for the fever; use acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If your flu symptoms are intense or if they persist, don't wait it out; get to your doctor. If your doctor is unavailable, go to the Emergency Department. If you have pneumonia, Legionnaire's disease, or meningitis, you may have to be hospitalized. Caution: Don't give aspirin to a child or to anyone at risk for bleeding when flu-like symptoms occur.
When groin pain appears inexplicably and without trauma, especially in a young male, it may be a sign of torsion, a twisting of the testicle, which impedes circulation to the area. If not recognized and treated within 12 hours, the testicle dies due to lack of blood supply. A patient with sudden, unexpected onset of severe testicular pain should get to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.
Most headaches don't require emergency care, but if you have a sudden, unexpected, severe headache or one that occurs with stiffness in the neck, loss of consciousness, change in vision, impaired balance, or if there is numbness or weakness, call 911 for transport to the Emergency Department.
After a blow to the head, if you experience or observe disorientation or there is a loss of consciousness; a seizure; or reduced motor and/or cognitive abilities, get to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.
Joint pain rarely requires evaluation in the Emergency Department unless over-the-counter medications do not help the pain. The major exception is pain in a single joint that appears red, hot, swollen, or infected and is impossible to move.
LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
If loss of consciousness occurs, either because of fainting, hitting one's head, or being knocked unconscious, get to the Emergency Department immediately by calling 911.
If a neck injury causes significant pain in the neck, "electric" sensations in the arms, or difficulty moving or feeling, it is crucial to get to the Emergency Department at once. Don't attempt to move your neck. Call 911 and expect paramedics to use special precautions during transport.
If you or someone you know has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-922-1117 for instructions. Then call an ambulance for help and transport to the Emergency Department.
Though most seizures occur because of failure to take prescribed anti-seizure medication, sufferers must be seen immediately by a doctor, usually in the Emergency Department. Repetitive seizures that take place while the sufferer is unconscious constitute an extreme medical emergency, since they may result in permanent brain damage. Call 911 immediately for assistance.
If you're suffering from acute pain in your side, you may be passing a kidney stone. Kidney stone pain is often spurred by dehydration and frequently radiates from the flank around to the groin and down into the genital area. Pain may form in the back as well. In general, the pain comes and goes in waves and is frequently associated with nausea and vomiting. Get to the Emergency Department at once.
VIOLENT, SUICIDAL AND DELUSIONAL BEHAVIOR
People who are suicidal, violent, or delusional must be treated as soon as possible. If this individual resists being taken to a doctor or hospital, you must call an ambulance and the police to take the person to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.
WEAKNESS OR NUMBNESS
The sudden onset of numbness or weakness in part of the body, as well as paralysis; confusion; visual fuzziness; a speech disorder; or coma could indicate a stroke. A stroke occurs when a clot or hemorrhage in the brain results in neurological damage. If any of these symptoms occur, get to the Emergency Department at once.
LARGE CUTS AND PUNCTURE WOUNDS
Cover large, open wounds with gauze or a clean cloth to prevent infection. Attempt to control the bleeding and get to the Emergency Department at once via 911 transport.
Puncture wounds can cause serious, even deadly bleeding inside the body, and cause significant infection. If possible, leave the object in place; you could cause more damage by removing it. Seek medical treatment immediately via 911.