While social distancing helps ensure your safety, it doesn’t apply to medical emergencies. Call 911 or go to your nearest ER for sudden medical emergencies — and be assured that we’re taking extra steps for your safety.
We understand you might have unsettling feelings about ER care right now. Every medical emergency is stressful, but one during the current circumstances can cause even more concern. We’re here to ease your mind about how our ER teams are prioritizing keeping you safe while working to restore your health in a medical emergency. To help you prepare for any emergency, we’ll also review which medical emergencies require an immediate call to 911 or trip to the nearest ER.
What Our ER Is Doing to Protect You
Our ER teams are here to serve you and your community 24/7. We’re here to address any emergency quickly while keeping you safe.
Every AdventHealth emergency department has adopted heightened infection control policies for team member and patient safety.
Temperature Checking for Patients and Team Members
When you get to any of our facilities, your first step will be to check your temperature checked, like each of our team members do before their shifts. This helps us determine who has a fever, which is a common sign of COVID-19. We have processes in place to safely care for anyone who has a fever.
Universal Face Mask Policy
You’ll notice our staff wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields, gowns, caps and face masks. All patients and visitors are required to wear a face mask in our facilities as well.
Separate Care Areas for Patients Who Are Sick
For everyone’s safety, we are also practicing patient cohorting, meaning we’re treating patients suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19 in designated areas, away from patients with other health needs.
Social Distancing in Waiting Rooms
Additionally, we are practicing social distancing in all waiting rooms. Look for floor markers and seat covers that indicate where it’s safe to stand and sit. You’ll also likely see clear, protective shields in receptionist areas.
Serious Symptoms That Require Emergency Care
According to Jesse Caron, MD of AdventHealth, “Several symptoms can indicate life threatening illness including: chest pain, shortness of breath, passing out with no warning, slurred speech, numbness and or weakness in extremities, dizziness with difficulty walking, altered mental status and low or very high blood pressures particularly with any of the above symptoms. These should not be ignored and coming to our ED departments will make sure you are safe and address your condition. All our ED’s are safe, clean, practice social distancing and all of the staff wear PPE”.
Here are some of the most serious symptoms that will always warrant an immediate call to 911 or trip to the ER.
Changes in Speech, Confusion and Numbness or Weakness
Sudden changes in your ability to speak, feeling confused or disoriented or experiencing weakness or numbness on one side of your face or body may be symptoms of a stroke or other serious neurological condition. Seconds matter, so act fast by calling 911 if you experience these symptoms or notice them in a loved one.
A stroke can also cause:
- Changes in vision
- Sudden and severe headache
- Sudden dizziness
Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
Difficulty breathing is a common symptom of COVID-19, and other conditions, too. If you’re experiencing this in addition to other symptoms such as fever and cough, call 911 to your nearest emergency room for care.
Shortness of breath can be caused by other serious conditions, too, including heart attack, heart disease, lung disease, blood clots, allergic reactions and others. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to seek immediate medical care.
Severe Broken Bones or Head Injuries
While you’re likely spending a lot of time at home right now, slips, falls and accidents that lead to broken bones or head injuries are possible. If you experience a serious injury, don’t delay medical treatment. Call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest ER immediately.
Serious broken bones have more obvious symptoms, but for head injuries, it’s important to watch out for the following:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Changes in speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Persistent drowsiness
Severe or Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by a number of conditions, most of which can be treated at home with over-the-counter remedies. However, if vomiting and/or diarrhea occurs for over 24 hours and with any of these symptoms, go to your nearest ER or call 911 for help:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling lethargic
- Fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Vomiting blood
Significant Chest Pain or Pressure
If you’re experiencing any sudden or persistent chest pain or pressure, call 911 immediately. Chest pain, pressure, tightness or aching can be symptoms of a heart attack. The pain can also spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back.
Every second matters when it comes to treating a heart attack, so don’t delay medical evaluation and treatment for any reason and call 911.
Other symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
Sudden Severe Pain
A sudden severe pain that isn’t going away should be evaluated by an emergency medical professional. This pain could be from appendicitis, where the pain is usually experienced in the lower right side of the abdomen.
Sudden and severe pain can be caused by many other serious conditions, too. If you’re concerned or have pain accompanied by other symptoms like uncontrolled bleeding or headache, call 911 or get to your closest ER.
When You Need ER Care, We’re Here to Protect and Keep You Safe
Rest assured that our emergency medical teams are here to treat any medical concern while taking steps to protect you and keep you as safe. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, don’t delay seeking our care. If you are able to safely get to an ER on your own or with the help of a loved one, locate your nearest AdventHealth ER or dial 911 for immediate assistance.