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Not sure if you need to go to the emergency room? Call our 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse line

Our nurses are here to answer questions about what to do when facing illness or injury.

June 17, 2024
A virtual care assistant at her cubical.

Whether you’ve come down with a fever or are experiencing stomach pain, sometimes it can be hard to determine where to go for care. This is why we’ve created our Ask-A-Nurse line — to answer questions about what to do when facing illness or injury. Take a look at these top reasons patients seek emergency care so you will know where to turn the next time you need medical help. 

Abdominal/stomach pain

According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, abdominal pain is the number one cause of emergency room (ER) visits in the country. Stomach pain can be an indication of a virus or food poisoning, or it could be something more serious, such as a gallbladder attack, colitis or pancreas issues.

Head to the ER with stomach pain if it's severe or accompanied by:

  • Bleeding, either through vomiting or bowel movement
  • Nausea, vomiting or dehydration
  • High fever

Fever

Most fevers are a symptom of a harmless viral infection, especially in children. Their still-maturing immune systems attack every germ at full force, leading to lots of fevers and only rarely a serious illness.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a fever and you’re not sure if you should seek care, call our 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse line at (615) 514-0757 to speak with an experienced, licensed nurse. They will help answer any questions you may have and provide guidance for the next steps in seeking care.

Vomiting

Your body is at least 50% water. Uncontrolled or repeated vomiting can seriously deplete your body's water reserves and most of us aren't drinking enough water to begin with. It doesn't take much — as little as a 1% loss of water — to experience dehydration symptoms. Dehydration can happen quickly, especially in infants.

Call Ask-A-Nurse or seek emergency medical care if nausea and vomiting are accompanied by:

  • Severe headache
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Signs of dehydration, such as excessive thirst, dry mouth, infrequent urination, dark-colored urine and weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • High fever and stiff neck
  • Blood, fecal material or fecal odor in the vomit
  • Rectal bleeding

Rash

A skin rash is a common medical symptom with a large number of potential causes, including infections, allergic reactions, heat, medications and immune system disorders. Allergic reactions can come on suddenly and turn from bad to worse quickly. You should head to the ER if you have:

  • Hives all over your body
  • Breathing problems
  • Cough, cold and/or congestion

Cough, cold and congestion 

Many widespread respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia and croup are caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) virus. In children under three years old, RSV can cause bronchiolitis, which is a common cause of hospitalization in infants under 12 months old. Flu is another respiratory illness that can cause complications, such as breathing problems, pneumonia and even sepsis.

Talk to a licensed nurse anytime

Our Ask-A-Nurse line is here for you, whether you have a simple question or a more serious health concern. Get advice you can trust directly from experienced, licensed nurses. Call (615) 514-0757 anytime, day or night for answers, advice and peace of mind.

Published:
June 17, 2024

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