Warning signs of a medical emergency, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians:
Bleeding that will not stop
Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing)
Coughing up or vomiting blood
Fainting or loss of consciousness
Feeling of committing suicide or murder
Head or spine injury
Severe or persistent vomiting
Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, etc.
Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
Swallowing a poisonous substance
Upper abdominal pain or pressure
Determine the location and quickest route to the nearest emergency department before an emergency happens.
Keep emergency phone numbers posted by the phone. Everyone in your household, including children, should know when and how to call these numbers. These numbers include:
Poison control center
Your doctors’ phone numbers
Contact numbers for neighbors or nearby friends or relatives.
Work phone numbers
Know at which hospital(s) your physician practices and, if practical, go there in an emergency.
Wear a medical identification tag if you have a chronic condition or look for one on a person who has any of the symptoms mentioned.
Get a personal emergency response system if you are elderly, especially if you live alone.
What to do if someone needs help
Remain calm, and call your local emergency number (such as 911).
Start CPR or rescue breathing, if necessary, and if you know the proper technique.
Place a semiconscious or unconscious person in the recovery position until the ambulance arrives. DO NOT move the person, however, if there has been or may have been a neck injury.
Upon arriving at an emergency room, the person will be immediately evaluated. Life- or limb-threatening conditions will be treated first. Persons with conditions that are not life- or limb-threatening may have to wait. Call 9-1-1 if:
The person’s condition is life-threatening (for example, the person is having chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe allergic reaction)
The person’s condition could become life-threatening on the way to the hospital
Moving the person could cause further injury (for example, in case of a neck injury or motor vehicle accident)
The person needs the skills or equipment of paramedics
Traffic conditions or distance might cause a delay in getting the person to the hospital