When to Seek Emergency Care Immediately

There has been a 40% decrease in Emergency Department visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients are concerned about going to the Emergency Department due to the potential of being around all those “sick people.”

There are times however that patients MUST go to the emergency department for serious illness. If you are exhibiting any of the following signs, SEEK EMERGENCY CARE IMMEDIATELY.

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. If left untreated 30% of the patients will die. If you experience the following symptoms seek emergency care immediately.

  • Dyspnea: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Usually sudden and severe.
  • Hemoptysis: Coughing up blood.
  • Diaphoresis: Abnormal sweating.
  • Cyanosis: Nails or lips turning blue.
  • Tachycardia: Rapid heartbeat
  • Pain: Unexplained sharp, severe pain in the chest and/or back.
  • Syncope: Loss of consciousness.

Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombus (DVT)

A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the lower let, or calf or thigh. It can occur following an injury to that limb. Although painful, if that clot moves, it can lodge in the lungs which can cause a pulmonary embolus.

  • throbbing or cramping pain in 1 leg (rarely both legs), usually in the calf or thigh.
  • swelling in 1 leg (rarely both legs)
  • warm skin around the painful area.
  • red or darkened skin around the painful area.
  • swollen veins that are hard or sore to the touch

Signs and symptoms of Heart Attack in WOMEN

We are all familiar with heart attacks. It usually occurs with a blockage to the circulation of the heart muscle. 30% of heart attacks are deadly, with half of those occurring before the patient arrives at the hospital.

Usually in female patients, multiple symptoms may occur:

  • Chest pain: or fullness in the chest (an elephant sitting on my chest!)
  • Nausea or stomach pain: feeling like the need to vomit. More commonly seen in women
  • Anxiety: feeling like something is wrong, but cannot put your finger on it
  • Arm pain: pain in the arm, leg, or jaw. A woman may feel numbness radiating down the left arm, and this pain or sensation can spread elsewhere in the body, especially shoulders.
  • Dyspnea: shortness of breath or difficulty with breathing.
  • Cold sweats: resulting in cold clammy skin (not to be confused with hot flashes in women)
  • Dizziness: sudden onset of light headedness, room spinning is usually combined with other symptoms on this list.
  • Extreme fatigue: unexpected sluggishness or exhaustion
  • Heart palpitations: heart skips a beat or fluttering sensation.

Signs and symptoms of Heart Attack in Men

Usually in male patients the following symptoms occur:

  • Pain or tingling in back, neck, shoulder, or jaw
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath