You have probably called a doctor’s office and heard the pre-recorded statement, “if this is an emergency, please hang up and call 911.” But have you ever wondered about what constitutes an urgent care situation? Obviously there are instances when it is obvious; broken bones and excessive bleeding are two pretty clear examples. However, there are other times when it will not be as obvious. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
Pain is Unbearable
Pain is always a good guideline to use. It is the body’s alarm system, letting you know when something is wrong. Any pain that does not subside or increases, despite attempts to relieve it should be discussed with your doctor. Pain that has no distinct cause and makes it difficult to complete your daily routine is an urgent issue. Appendicitis and gall stones are examples of issues which can cause intense pain and should be tended to immediately before additional problems can occur.
Body temperatures can vary by clothing, activity and more. Fevers are also a natural way for bodies to fight infection. This means that not every fever is an urgent matter. However, too high a fever can be a problem, particularly for infants and the elderly. Recurrent fevers should be evaluated by a doctor, but can be done so at a regular office appointment. It is only when the fever has exceeded 104 degrees, continues to rise or does not lower despite treatment should urgent care be considered.
Respiratory illnesses are often uncomfortable and can cause difficult breathing. If the breathing reaches the point where the person unable to catch their breath when relaxing or are out of breath to the point where talking correctly is impossible, immediate help is needed.
Chest pain can be gas or heartburn or even something as simple as strained muscles. It can also be a heart attack. If the chest pain is extreme or is accompanied with any other symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness urgent care should be sought. If chest pain is mild, but persists over an extended amount of time and does not have any clear cause, urgent care should be considered as well.
If you have any of these issues, consult a doctor immediately. If you have questions about these conditions or any others, call your general practitioner today.