Sickness and injury are inherently frightening, especially when they strike unexpectedly. It’s not always easy to know when you should head to the nearest emergency room, especially when problems develop suddenly. While there are times when you need to head directly to the nearest ER or even call an ambulance, there are also times when minor emergencies can and should be treated differently.

True Emergencies and Minor Emergencies: Knowing the Difference

Evaluating your symptoms or those of a family member isn’t always easy when you’re worried, but there are some quick guidelines you can follow to make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Chest pain, especially when it presents with sweating, shortness of breath or vomiting, is always cause for a trip to the nearest emergency room, as these could be signs of heart attack. You should also seek ER care if you or a family member experience:

  • Seizures without an epilepsy diagnosis
  • Serious burns
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • Deep wounds or lacerations, particularly to the face
  • Sudden loss of vision, confusion, difficulty speaking or a change in mental status
  • High fevers, or those which also present with a rash
  • Severe heart palpitations

What if you’re not experiencing symptoms of this severity, but still feel as if your situation is urgent? Many illnesses and injuries do require quick treatment, but not in an emergency room setting. In fact, showing up at the ER with non-life-threatening situations can lead to very long wait times as those with more serious concerns are treated more quickly. Minor emergencies which don’t require a visit to the emergency department include but are not limited to:

  • Small lacerations which may require stitches
  • Sprains
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever with no rash
  • Non-severe abdominal pain
  • Minor injuries
  • Mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms

Sometimes, you know what’s going on but aren’t sure where to turn when your regular doctor’s office is closed for the day. Perhaps you or someone in your household experiences recurring urinary tract or ear infections, for example. In these situations, you know the condition should be treated as quickly as possible. What you may not realize is that even if your regular doctor’s office isn’t open when symptoms set in, the nearest emergency room is not your only option.

Quality Treatment for Minor Emergencies

At the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center, we know illness and injuries strike outside of primary care hours. We provide a variety of services designed to treat minor emergencies, with facilities in both Magnolia and Houston. Call today to schedule an appointment for your minor emergency and skip the long wait at the ER.

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