We can all agree that going to the emergency room is a huge and expensive hassle.
Unless you’re in extreme pain or you can see your bones, few people want to admit they need to go sit in a waiting room for hours, just to spend a ton of money in health insurance bills. And, hey, maybe nothing is wrong after all and you just spent all that time and money for nothing!
Just to put it out there: this is not a smart decision to make for your health.
Trust us, we completely understand not wanting to make a trip to the ER. But while it’s easy to push some signs and symptoms to the side, there are some that you should never, ever ignore.
Here are 10 signs red flags that you need to take to your doctor ASAP:
The only time it’s normal to spike a fever is when you’re sick with a cold or the flu; a raised body temperature shows that your body is fighting something off. This can be solved with a simple dose of ibuprofen.
But if you have a fever that suddenly spikes out of the blue — and spikes high — you should head to the ER. According to WebMD, any temperature of 105 degrees or higher in an adult is a medical emergency. A consistent fever over 103 degrees still indicates a serious infection that needs urgent treatment.
If you stand up too quickly or haven’t had much to drink today, yes, you might feel lightheaded. Put if it comes out of nowhere and is so extreme you feel as if you may faint, this needs to be taken to the ER.
Not only could this indicate some larger problem, but you could also injure yourself if you do take a fall.
Did you just climb several flights of stairs or go for a jog? Well, in that case, it’s okay to feel a little out of breath. But this is a totally different story if you’re feeling breathless out of nowhere and can’t seem to catch your breath. This is much more serious.
In an interview at the University of Utah, Dr. Troy Madsen notes:
If this is something that’s come on suddenly, you’re having trouble getting deep breaths in, you feel shorter breath, your lungs feel tight, your throat feels tight, those are absolutely reasons not only to go to the ER but you may even consider calling 911.
It’s so easy to push aside a headache as something “normal.” You might be tempted to swallow a pill, drink some water, and just sleep it off. But you have to draw a line at some point.
Should a headache go on for more than a day or if you’re experiencing excruciating pain, seek medical help. Worst case scenario, this persistent, splitting headache might be your only warning sign of a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.
If you’ve been around someone with a stomach bug or you ate something a little funky, having an upset stomach isn’t that uncommon. However, if your diarrhea continues for more than five days, or you start to worry you are becoming dehydrated, go straight to the ER.
It’s important to note that there are different types of chest pains. Should be experiencing something like a pulled muscle or an injury, your chest pain is probably nothing to worry about.
However, if you experience a squeezing feeling that turns into a tight and painful ache, seek emergency medical attention. Especially important to note this type of pain if you’ve just exercised because this could be a sign of cardiac arrest.
Bump on the Head
You probably don’t need to rush to call 911 every time you get a little conk on the head. But you have to know that some bumps aren’t just little accidents – some of them could lead to a concussion, which is dangerous if unchecked.
If you get hit by something or get hit by a projectile like a ball or you bang your head hard against something strong like concrete, you need to get your head checked.
The symptoms of a concussion, such as ringing in your ears and continuous fatigue, can go unnoticed at first.
Simple cuts from a nail in the backyard or a slippery razor blade might look harmless, but don’t try to treat them yourself. Often, if people try to treat these “harmless” cuts themselves, they can develop into something dangerous or even deadly.
Cuts from something rusty (like a nail or razor blade) is a real danger; it could require a tetanus shot, and any injury from an animal might require rabies shots or other inoculations.
Go to the ER if you have a cut that won’t stop bleeding, a cut that is deep and requires stitches, or a cut that might be contaminated by rust or other dangerous material.
“Pins and Needles”
You know that prickly sensation you get after a body part has gone numb? Most us would refer to that numbness as “pins and needles.” If you’ve just sat on your foot for 20 minutes and you get pins and needles, that makes sense since you just restricted blood flow for almost a half hour.
But getting this tingling feeling out of the blue, especially in your limbs, could be a potential sign of a stroke and should be immediately examined.
Everyone should know that discovering a lump anywhere on your body that you don’t recognize should be handled with great care.
Unexplained lumps can indicate all sorts of things. If it’s painful, it could be an infection or even a symptom of a small fracture. If not, it could be something cancerous. Either way, going right to the ER can give you peace of mind fast.