Serious Symptoms? The ER Is Still the Best for Medical Emergencies

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Even while the COVID-19 pandemic plays itself out across the country, medical emergencies unrelated to the coronavirus will continue to happen. And it’s important as ever to recognize a medical emergency – and act on it quickly.

The emergency room remains the place to go for severe health and life-threatening issues such as heart attack, stroke, severe abdominal pain or uncontrolled bleeding.

Many emergency departments, such as those at University Hospitals, have procedures in place to screen and separate COVID-19 patients to eliminate the risk of spreading the virus to staff and other patients.

Call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency department immediately when you or a loved one are experiencing these serious symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain that is intense and focused on one spot
  • Blistering, large burns or extensive rash
  • Bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Displaced or open wound bone breaks
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Nosebleeds that won’t stop
  • Overdoses
  • Seizures
  • Sudden numbness or weakness
  • Very high or low vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate or temperature
  • Wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Call or Drive?

Unsure whether to drive yourself to an emergency room or call 9-1-1? For some medical emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke, calling 9-1-1 for an ambulance is always the right decision. This is because paramedics often can begin delivering life-saving treatment on the way to the hospital, and can radio ahead so medical staff is prepared for your arrival.

Do not drive yourself if you are having severe chest pain or severe bleeding, feel like you might faint or if your vision is impaired.

Related Links

University Hospitals’ emergency departments remain open 24/7/365 for emergency care. UH is following best practices for cleanliness, infection control and employee health at all of our facilities. Learn how University Hospitals is prepared to handle coronavirus (COVID-19).

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