Something is wrong. You’re sick, and you need medical attention.
Not urgently? Maybe the pain in your chest will go away. Maybe your finger will stop bleeding. Maybe if you went to the hospital, you’d end up waiting for hours. Then again, things might worsen if you stay at home.
We all face this choice at one time or another. And the decision is complicated by the fact that most of us, no matter how sick we feel, would rather stay at home than visit a hospital.
Perhaps you’re concerned you’ll only add to the burden on the hospital staff, or that, they’ll make fun of you for having panicked and rushed to them for nothing. The most important factor in deciding whether to go to a hospital or to crawl into bed with your health.
You know yourself and your family best. So trust your instincts. If you are really unsure, jot down an exact description of your symptoms; your pain on a scale of one to ten; when the symptoms started; a brief medical history (your high BP, your last sugar count), and a list of medications you are taking. If you decide to go to the hospital, take the list with you. Here, according to experts are five scenarios that absolutely warrant a trip to the hospital.
Five Best Reasons To Go To A Hospital
Err on the side of caution if the patient is elderly or a child. With some older people, even a minor infection, cold or fall can turn serious quickly. As for children, watch for fever above 101 degrees F, lethargy, unusual behaviour and general look of illness. Seek care for subtle health changes in babies under three months. A few hours of vomiting for a child can lead to dehydration, and a persistent fever can have serious repercussions.
Besides the above, here are five must-go scenarios:
1. You suddenly feel severe pain
A stab of pain in the head, abdomen, chest or elsewhere often signals something serious. If it’s your chest, it could mean a heart attack, particularly if you are above 35 years. Hospital emergency staff want to see most people with chest pain, especially if it is followed with shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and sweating – because they might be able to prevent damage before it becomes serious.
Even young people with chest pains should come in because they could be experiencing a collapsed lung or a blood clot in the lung. A vicious headache may be an indication of a brain aneurysm. Abrupt, powerful abdominal pain is also very serious as it can be an indication of an appendix attack.
2. You feel weakness, numbness or lack of mobility, particularly on one side of your body
These, along with temporary vision loss, headache and slurring of speech are the word of warning for a stroke. These symptoms can be short-lived or keep coming and going, so people are suffering from them often don’t go to the hospital. Signs of a stroke can crop up for one hour and then disappear for the next 23, only to return again, mainly because strokes happen when oxygen can’t get to the brain due to a blocked blood vessel. Most strokes happen to people over the age of 65, but if any of these problems arise in a family member, get help, collecting from them as much details as possible about their condition before you arrive at the hospital.
3. You’ve had a physical injury
If you’re badly hurt in a car accident, you obviously need to be rushed to the hospital. But if you’ve hurt yourself playing a sport, or by falling down on the stairs, you should get care at a hospital if you have hit your head hard and lost consciousness; are bleeding copiously, especially from your ear and nose; have a deep or large cut; are experiencing swelling that comes on quickly; or are unable to put weight on an injured limb; or are vomiting.
These injuries may need immediate attention to prevent infections and other complications. But even if you walk away from an accident, be aware that you could be in shock – therefore feeling less pain – or your symptoms may not show up until later. It can often happen after car accidents. People feel shortness of breath, assume they are just upset, and few days later end up in the hospital with a broken rib that’s started to affect their breathing; they may even have a punctured lung.
4. You have a chronic condition that has worsened
Conditions like diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, kidney disease, or a serious allergy. People with such conditions should always know the difference between a mild aggravation of their condition, which may warrant a trip to the GP, and something that needs urgent attention. An asthma attack, very low blood sugar, a severe seizure or a bee sting when you’re allergic, merit the rapid help you can get at a hospital.
5. Mental infirmity is involved.
If a person has a history of mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression or manic depression and has become terrifying in some way, or unsafe to himself or others, a hospital is the place to go. Also, if someone is using drugs and his behaviour drastically changes or he looks unwell due to health changes, he may need emergency care. Hospital emergency staff are trained to deal with crises, calm people and prevent suicides.
Although it may be unnecessary, but if you still feel that your symptoms require the attention of an experienced doctor or trained staff at the hospital, do not hesitate to go and get yourself checked out. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to go to the hospital or not. The doctors are always there to help out and that is why hospitals run an emergency service 24/7. So, if you are worried, don’t hesitate and just make that trip to the hospital, for mental satisfaction and peace, if not anything else.
Equipped with these five reasons which determine if one really needs medical attention, you can rest at peace in the knowledge that your symptoms may be temporary and harmless or whether you do require to make that trip to the emergency ward.