Emergency Services

When should adults go to the Emergency Department?

When you or an adult loved one has a medical problem that may be life-threatening, call 911 so Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can come to you.

Symptoms and signs of an emergency include:

  • Heart attack or other heart problem
  • Pain or pressure in chest or area above the stomach
  • Breathing problems, shortness of breath, or asthma
  • Unusual pain in the stomach
  • Sudden or severe pain anywhere in the body, including headaches or back pain
  • Sudden dizziness, fainting, or weakness
  • Problems speaking or slurred speech
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion or an altered mental state
  • Feelings of suicide
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe or continual vomiting or diarrhea
  • Coughing or vomiting blood

When should children go to the Emergency Department?

Children may have different medical problems and symptoms than adults. Even when there are signs of a problem, children may not be able to explain how they are feeling or are too young to speak. If you think your child is having a medical emergency, bring him or her directly to the ER for immediate attention. If you need help getting to the ER, call 911 for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Symptoms or problems include:

  • High fever
  • Breathing or pulse stops
  • Trouble breathing, uncontrollable choking, or lips are turning blue
  • Severe headache, especially if the child is also vomitting or has a stiff neck
  • A head or neck injury that causes the child to pass out or vomit
  • An altered mental state including blackouts, too much sleepiness, or behavior that is out of control
  • Signs of shock such as pale, cold and clammy skin, and a weak, quick pulse
  • Chemical, electrical and other types of severe burns, especially on the face
  • Poisoning from taking or inhaling chemicals, medications or hazardous household products
  • Convulsions lasting more than 15 minutes or any sudden convulsions
  • Severe cuts or lacerations
  • A serious animal bite that has broken the skin