Is it an emergency

An emergency is when you have a very serious injury or illness. You may be hurt badly or bleeding heavily. You might be feeling very bad pain or feeling very, very sick. If you don’t get help, you may have permanent damage to a body part or you could even die.

For many illnesses, you don’t need to go to the emergency room.  If you have a cold, a cough or a rash, you can call your doctor. It’s the same if you have small cuts or bruises. You don’t need to go to the hospital.  If you’re unsure, you can speak to a nurse. The nurse can help you decide if you need to go to the emergency room.

Go to the nearest hospital or call 911 right away when:

  • You are afraid you may be dying
  • You are badly hurt
  • You have very bad chest pains
  • You may be poisoned
  • You may have taken an overdose of medicine
  • You are choking or having problems breathing
  • You may have a broken bone
  • You have diarrhea or vomiting that won’t stop
  • You are bleeding heavily
  • You are badly burned
  • You fainted
  • You suddenly can’t move (paralysis)
  • You are a victim of a violent attack (rape, mugging, stab or gunshot wound)
  • You have thoughts of causing harm to yourself or others
  • You are about to deliver a baby

 If you feel that you can wait to seek care, you can call your primary care provider.