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The top 5 signs you should go to the Emergency Room


Ear aches, severe sore throats, lingering fevers – these are all reasons to see your primary care physician (and Tufts Medical Center has great ones available to see you), but chest pain, sudden severe dizziness or abdominal pain?  Dr. Matt Mostofi, Assistant Chief of Emergency Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, says these symptoms merit a trip to the Emergency Department.

“You shouldn’t have to diagnose the problem,” Dr. Mostofi advises. “If you feel it’s significant, by all means come into the Emergency Room. Listen to your body and use common sense.”

Recognizing a medical emergency may just save your life, or the life of a loved one. Time is critical to treatment and recovery. So it’s important to act fast, stay calm and seek help. Below are five signs you should go to the Emergency Room—or call 9-1-1 if you can’t get yourself to the hospital.

1. Chest or Upper Abdominal Pain: Discomfort, pressure or pain in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes is the characteristic sign of a heart attack. Symptoms can also include nausea, lightheadedness and pain in one or both arms.

2. Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing is a major concern and could be the sign of a heart attack, a severe asthma attack or an emphysema emergency.

3. Dizziness or Severe Headache: Sudden onset of dizziness or muscle weakness may be signs of a stroke. Symptoms can also include fainting, change of vision, difficulty speaking and mental confusion. A sudden, severe headache may signal a hemorrhagic stroke or ruptured brain aneurysm, which require immediate medical attention.

4. Lower Abdominal Pain: Sudden or severe abdominal pain may be a symptom of acute appendicitis or abdominal aortic aneurysm, a dangerous condition affecting the main blood vessel to your heart that must be treated quickly.

5. Uncontrolled Bleeding: Accidents can happen anywhere. If you can’t control the bleeding from a deep cut, go to the Emergency Department immediately.

Tufts Medical Center’s Emergency Department

When you arrive at or bring your child to our emergency room, don’t expect it to take all day: on average adults see a doctor within 30 minutes of arrival and kids see a doctor within 20 minutes. So you may not even need to bring your iPad. The entrance to our ER is located at 830 Washington Street, between Kneeland and Oak, and across the street from the Tufts Medical Center Orange Line. Parking is easy: Drive right in for fast and free valet service, or park in our nearby garage.

Not an emergency? Find a new primary care physician who really “gets” you at Tufts Medical Center: call 617-636-5400 for adult primary care or 617-636-8100 to connect with a pediatrician for your child.