Should you go? When to visit an emergency room

Understanding whether you should seek emergency care could save your life.

Methodist Healthcare ER (Courtesy of Methodist Healthcare)

Medical emergencies are not always obvious. You may find yourself worrying that you are not sick enough, or you may think you can wait it out. However, deciding to call 911 or go to the ER could save a life.

Click here to find your nearest Methodist ER.

But how do you decide when an illness requires a visit to the ER or when you can receive non-emergent care at an urgent care clinic?

Methodist Healthcare specialists say understanding your symptoms can help decide what type of care is best for you.

Here are some reasons you should visit an Emergency Room:

  • ·Chest Pain- Chest pain, pressure, tightness, or squeezing should never be ignored. If your chest pain is caused by a heart-related problem, calling 911 gives you the best chance of survival. About 70% of cardiac events happen outside of the hospital or clinical setting. Hands-only CPR could be the immediate help someone needs while waiting for professional medical personnel to arrive.
  • Stoke Signs- B.E.F.A.S.T – any sign of stroke is an immediate concern.
    • B. Balance and coordination loss. Do you notice any trouble walking or standing? Is there any dizziness or feeling like your head is spinning?
    • E. Eyesight trouble. Is there any sudden blurred or lost vision?
    • F. Face drooping. Do you notice that one side of the face droops or feels numbness? Does it look lopsided when your friend or loved one smiles?
    • A. Arm weakness. Does one arm drift down when your friend or loved one has both arms raised. Is there any numbness?
    • S. Speech difficulty. Do you notice any slurred speech? Do you find your friend or loved one difficult to understand when he or she says a simple phrase?
    • T. Time to call 911. If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. Take a short online assessment to calculate your risk of stroke.
  • Fever- Normal body temperature is between 97.5ºF and 98.9ºF. Anything outside of that range could be cause for concern depending on the age of the person.
    • 3 months or younger: Anything over 100.4°F
    • 3 to 6 months: Over 102°F
    • 6 to 24 months: Over 102°F for more than one day
    • 2 to 17 years old: Over 102°F and one or more other symptoms, including
      • Being irritable or lethargic, not responding to over-the-counter medication, or the fever lasts more than 2 days.
      • Stomach Pains- Abdominal pain can have serious causes, so if you’re concerned, go to the ER as soon as possible.

Here are some reasons you should visit an Urgent Care:

  • Cold, flu, or seasonal allergies and illnesses
  • Rashes or skin conditions
  • Breaks, twists, and sprains
  • Sore throat
  • Minor burns
  • Sports physicals
  • COVID-19 testing

If your condition is not life-threatening and you are not sure of your next steps, Call-A-Nurse. Methodist Healthcare’s Call-A-Nurse line is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week with registered Methodist Healthcare nurses available to personally assist you with professional medical advice. Call (210) 575-0355 for adults or call (210) 226-8773 for kids.