Face Emergencies Prepared

Timing Is Critical in Emergency Care

Emergency situations are always stressful. Though you can’t stop them from happening, you can face them prepared.

“In the Emergency Department, we evaluate and treat patients who need immediate care in an effort to save lives and reduce injury,” says Robert Fuller, M.D., director of the Emergency Department at UConn Health in Farmington. “Being prepared and knowing what to do and what to expect during an emergency can help you stay focused on healing.”

Recognizing Emergencies

It is essential to know how to recognize the signs of a medical emergency because correctly interpreting and acting on these signs could potentially save the life of a loved one — or your own life — one day. Many people experience the symptoms of an emergency, such as a stroke or a heart attack, but delay seeking immediate care. For many medical emergencies, delays in treatment can often lead to more serious consequences.

If you get help during the first hour of a heart attack, your chances of recovery are greatly improved.

Signs and Symptoms

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms you should seek medical attention by calling 911 or your doctor:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain/pressure
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion or changes in mental status, unusual behavior, difficulty waking
  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Injury resulting in deformity or severe pain
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Unusual abdominal pain

Get Trained in First Aid and CPR

You can learn how to recognize and how to act in an emergency situation by taking a first aid class and learning CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). According to the American Heart Association, effective bystander CPR, when started immediately after collapse, can double a victim’s chance of survival.

For information on local CPR classes, contact the American Red Cross, www.ctredcross.org or 860-678-2700, or the American Heart Association, www.heart.org or 203-294-0088.