You may get a sudden sharp pain that sounds your alarm bells, or your child seems out of sorts and you start to panic. However, don’t immediately jump to the worst conclusion—emergency room visits are much more expensive than routine medical visits and are often unnecessary (not to say there are many legitimate reasons to go).
An article on the U.S. Library of Medicine website suggests you use your own judgment to determine if you really need to go to an ER, and has a list of reasons you shouldn’t hesitate to act. Generally, if the person is at risk of imminent death, call 911. If the person is badly injured or has trouble breathing, then call an ambulance or get in the car to the nearest ER. However, here are six reasons people visit the ER when they don’t necessarily need to…
1. Chest Discomfort
There’s a relentless tightness in your chest and you can’t breathe—must be a heart attack, right? Not always. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) notes that panic attacks can actually mimic symptoms of a heart attack. Those symptoms could include feeling dizzy, as well as experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea, but in many cases it will pass as soon as it arrived.
The ADAA says the stigma of having anxiety can prevent people from seeking a proper diagnosis. But the association assures you that panic attacks are a treatable disorder that’s not life-threatening. However, if the symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to call for help or go to the ER.