Know when to go to the ER

Use this simple article to determine whether or not you need to visit the emergency room.

About 20 percent of trips to the ER are unnecessary. To recognize a true emergency (and avoid needless expense), remember this acronym: ABCDE.

Head to the ER stat (or dial 911) if you have any of these:

A - Airway
Choking (also do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR if needed)

B - Breathing
Rapid or slowed intake of air, wheezing, skin has a blue tinge

C - Circulation
Loss of consciousness, bleeding, agitation, lifelessness

D - Disability or dehydration
Injury or inability to walk or talk, inability to keep down food or liquids

E - Exposure to an environmental hazard
Various (causes can include heat exhaustion, hypothermia or poisoning)

Get help fast. Urgent-care centers treat non-threatening conditions and often have shorter wait times than ERs. Locate one at


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