Be Prepared for a Trip to the Emergency Room: Useful Tips to Help You Prepare

August 3, 2017

Ambulance with lights on driving down a roadKnow when to go: Go to the emergency room (ER) if you think your health is in serious danger. Examples include:

  • Sudden chest pain  
  • Severe blood loss
  • Trouble breathing  
  • Bad injuries, like broken bones
  • Loss of vision  
  • Problems using an arm or leg
  • A severe headache  
  • Severe pain

Bring someone with you: This person can help you explain your problem and understand your follow-up care. 

Keep important information in your wallet: Have a list of your medical conditions and all the medicines you take. Carry your health insurance card at all times. Know how to use your electronic health record, if you have one. This can be helpful if you go to an ER when you are traveling.

Know when you may not need to go: Most health issues are not serious. It’s better to go to your doctor’s office, an urgent care, or local retail clinic whenever you can. Usually, you can call your doctor’s office and ask where to go. You can also call or go online to find your health plan’s in-network urgent care centers. 

Source: Consumer Reports’ Choosing Wisely campaign

Photo: OgnjenO/iStock/Thinkstock