- Chest pain
Sudden chest pain is one of the most common reasons to go to the emergency room, particularly if you have a family history of heart disease. While chest pain can have several causes, it can indicate a heart attack or other serious health issues. If you experience chest pain with one or two of the other symptoms on this list (i.e., difficulty breathing and severe pain in other parts of your body) and/or sweating, you should head to the ER immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
Another of the most popular reasons to go to the emergency room is shortness of breath. Again, this symptom can have many causes, including asthma, infections, smoking, and other conditions. However, the cause doesn’t really matter; what matters is your inability to breathe. Go to the emergency room if you’re having trouble breathing normally, no matter what.
- Heavy bleeding or unusual presence of blood
Whether it’s a deep cut or blood in your urine, stool, or vomit, you should never ignore heavy bleeding or the presence of blood where it shouldn’t be. Blood in the urine can indicate a severe infection, while blood in the stool could be benign or symptomatic of a serious problem. If you are vomiting blood, you could be suffering from an ulcer, a gastrointestinal issue, or a host of other conditions. Essentially, any significant amount or unusual location of blood should be treated as an emergency situation, since there are many possible causes and other complications associated with these instances.
- Severe pain (headache, abdominal pain, etc.)
It may seem a bit general, but any pain you would categorize as severe, sharp, or sudden may warrant emergency care. An intense headache or abdominal pain with a rapid onset might require emergency healthcare services, especially if it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in the past. Sudden, intense head pain could indicate a hemorrhage, while severe and localized pain in the abdomen could require emergency gallbladder or appendix surgery. Don’t ignore severe pain, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of all the reasons to go to the emergency room. However, your instincts will probably serve you well in many cases. If you feel as if you need emergency healthcare services, it’s best to err on the side of caution and head to the ER.