Don’t Delay Emergency Care When You Have Symptoms

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You may be thinking twice about going to the emergency room at your local hospital if you don’t feel well. Maybe you’re not sure that it’s a true emergency. Or perhaps you’re concerned about getting sick from a virus while there.

We know that these are scary and uncertain times. We want to assure you that you should always get care quickly in a medical emergency, and we’re taking extra steps to protect you and keep you safe in our emergency departments. Because nothing is more important to us than your safety.

If you think your symptoms may signal a medical emergency, don’t wait to get care. We’re taking protective measures for your safety in our emergency rooms and other facilities. Delaying medical care for serious health problems could be dangerous. Here’s some guidance on when to seek emergency care.

Is It an Emergency?

Knowing which symptoms may signal a medical emergency can help you and your loved ones get the care you need.

The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends seeking immediate medical care for these symptoms:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Confusion or other major changes in behavior
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Serious injuries like burns, large wounds or head trauma
  • Severe pain in your stomach or other body part
  • Sudden dizziness or weakness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble walking
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that won’t stop

You should also seek emergency care if you or a loved one has swallowed a poisonous substance. And don’t delay care if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others.

Call 911 right away if you or a loved one is having a medical emergency. It’s the safest way to get care when seconds count, and harm may be imminent if care is delayed. If the person experiencing the emergency has a chronic or underlying health condition, such as heart disease or asthma, be sure to tell the 911 operator.

How is AdventHealth Taking Steps to Protect Me?

If you need emergency care, know that specific procedures are in place to protect you in the emergency room. We are committed to taking steps to keep you safe, like:

  • Temperature screening at emergency room entrances
  • Staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves
  • Frequent cleaning and sanitation of the facility
  • Frequent handwashing by health care providers and other personnel
  • Separate care areas for patients symptomatic and those with COVID-19

AdventHealth is following all of these best practices, in addition to other safety measures like universal masking of patients and staff and enforced social distancing.

Why It’s Best to Get Prompt Care for Emergency Symptoms

It may be easy to choose emergency care for an injury that won’t stop bleeding or for severe abdominal pain, which may be a sign of appendicitis or another serious gastrointestinal problem. But you may be more apt to dismiss care for other symptoms like chest pain or dizziness, especially if they don’t last long or come and go. Unfortunately, symptoms such as these could be signs of a serious problem like a heart attack or stroke.

Why Get Emergency Care for Heart Issues?

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And nearly 150,000 people die every year from a stroke. These statistics underscore the importance of getting prompt emergency care for concerning symptoms.

Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack? These include chest pain or discomfort, heartburn, nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath. Recognizing these symptoms quickly can help protect you and loved ones from this leading cause of death.

Getting medical care right away can also reduce the amount of damage to your heart. Clot-busting medicines used as soon as possible can restore blood flow to your heart. These and other timely treatments can improve your chances of recovery and reduce your risk for long-term disability.

Why Get Emergency Care for Stroke?

Are you familiar with the signs of a stroke? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, you or a loved one may be having a stroke if you notice the following symptoms, which can happen suddenly:

  • Confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Severe headache with no known cause
  • Trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance
  • Vision changes in one or both eyes

As with a heart attack, prompt treatment for a stroke is vital. During a stroke, blood flow is cut off from your brain. Quick care at the emergency department with a medicine called tPA can save brain cells, reducing damage to your brain and your recovery time afterward.

Emergency Care for COVID-19

While most people with coronavirus have mild symptoms, emergency care is sometimes needed. Call 911 if you or a loved one develops these severe symptoms:

  • Bluish lips or face
  • Confusion or inability to stay awake
  • Ongoing chest pain or pressure
  • Trouble breathing

When you call 911, tell the operator that you may have COVID-19.

We’re Ready When You’re Ready

AdventHealth is committed to providing the latest information to protect you and keep you and your family healthy. To learn more about the proactive measures we’re using to keep you safe, visit

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