Emergency Medicine

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Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on triaging people of all ages when they have sudden injuries. When we think of emergency medicine, things like car accidents, cuts and broken bones probably come to mind. Of course, these are common reasons why people go to their nearby emergency room. But there are so many other conditions that may warrant a visit to the doctor fast. Here are some common types of injuries and conditions you may need emergency medicine for:

Pediatric fevers. Parents often worry about how high their baby’s temperature is. If the child has a temperature of 38 and is behaving abnormally or lethargic, the child should be assessed immediately. However, if you’re concerned regardless of their temperature or behavior, see their healthcare provider. In most cases, pediatric fevers will be treated with medications such as acetominophin or ibuprofen.

Dog bites. Because many people have pets, dog bites are common. In most cases, dog bites aren’t serious, but they can be. Dog bites can appear bac because dogs tend to shear as opposed to just biting. If you’re bitten by a dog, an emergency physician can assess your wound. Dog bites can cause significant injuries to muscles and tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bones. The physician will clean the wound to minimize the odds of infection, and may or may not suture the wound shut. They’ll then dress the wound. You may also need a tetanus shot.

Burns. Lots of adults and children see emergency medicine providers for burns. They can be very simple injuries all the way to devastating injuries. A first-degree burn involves redness to the skin and it’s like a sunburn. They can be painful, but generally aren’t serious. A second-degree burn involves blistering of the skin. You should seek medical attention. A third-degree burn is a very serious burn, and the skin will turn black. Your burn treatment will depend on the severity of the burn. It’s often an antibiotic ointment and/or over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen.

Chest pain. If you’re experiencing chest pain, it could indicate heart failure or a heart attack. Not all chest pain is an emergency, but you should head to the emergency department to rule out a cardiovascular event. You should definitely see an emergency medicine provider if you have:

  • Pain that’s severe, persistent, or accompanied by a crushing sensation.
  • Pain that radiates to your arms, neck, jaw, back or abdomen.
  • Pain along with shortness of breath nausea, sweating or dizziness.

Stroke symptoms. Symptoms of a stroke include slurred speech, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, confusion and difficulty walking.

Allergic reactions. Allergies are annoying for many people, but for others they can be life-threatening. If you experience symptoms like difficulty breathing or swelling of the face or throat, it may be anaphylaxis.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Not all emergency situations are physical. If you or someone you know is expressing suicidal thoughts, they should see an emergency medicine provider right away. They may be referred to a psychiatrist in the hospital and/or kept for observation and treatment.

While you can’t prevent all emergencies, you can take some steps to prevent injuries and illnesses. Here are some ways to potentially prevent a serious or fatal situation:

  • Eat a healthy diet that's low in saturated fats
  • Quit smoking and drinking (or moderate drinking)
  • Manage your weight
  • See your physician regularly
  • Take all medications as prescribed
  • Learn CPR so you’re prepared

If you want more information on emergency medicine, talk to your health care provider. 
 

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