Sometimes it’s necessary, and sometimes it’s not, but it is certainly true that almost all of us have been to the emergency at one time or another. Maybe it was a broken leg, or the fear of one. Perhaps it was a poisoning or a burn. Whatever it was, we are certainly glad for the existence and accessibility of the ER, and we all want them to run as efficiently as possible.
Unfortunately many times people just don’t know the difference between a good reason to go to the ER, and a “not such a good reason” to go. The more people can tell the difference, the better the emergency rooms can service their patients.
Here are the five most common reasons people go the ER, whether they are good reasons or not.
1. Stomach pain, cramps, and spasms- Severe stomach pain can be frightening. It is no wonder that this is the most common reason for visits to the ER. Stomach pain can also pose a more serious danger than simple food poisoning, so this is a reasonable reason to visit the ER.
2. Chest pain and related symptoms- Since chest pains can mean the possibility of having a heart attack most people rush to the ER if they have this symptom.
3. Fevers are the third most common reason for trips to the ER, but on the first day of a fever this is almost always not necessary. There are many reasons for people to exhibit a fever, from too much stress or even bad weather. However fever can be a sign of danger if it is already the third day of a fever which has not returned to normal, or if the fever is very high.
4. Cough-There are many reasons a person can develop a cough, but almost always the cough is harmless, meaning that it does not present a threat to life in and of itself. Although coughs should definitely be checked by a doctor, especially persistent coughs; there is almost never a reason to go to the ER to do this. Just make an appointment with your doctor. An exception is if the cough is combined with blood or other symptoms. Then off to the ER with you.
5. Headache- Head pain can be quite severe, and if it is people will go to the ER to get quick relief. But if your headache is not a recurrent symptom, it is most likely just a plain headache. Another thing to note; doctors can not treat a headache fast. If the only symptom is the headache, the doctor will want to run some tests to determine what is wrong.
Dr. Josyann Abisaab is an emergency room physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.