Even minor injuries can be painful and upsetting, especially if they occur on sensitive parts of the body. In most instances, you can treat an injury without the help of a medical professional. With that said, certain injuries demand prompt medical attention to prevent loss of function or loss of life. If you suffer any of the following, visit a doctor right away:
- Concussions: Because they can result in life-threatening bleeding and swelling, head injuries demand quick attention when patients exhibit specific symptoms. These include vomiting, severe or worsening headaches, seizures, convulsions, slurred speech, confusion, agitation, restlessness, trouble waking, numbness, weakness, or decreased coordination.
- Hand Injuries: Without prompt medical care, severe hand injuries can result in disability. It’s important to seek immediate help if a hand injury results in numbness, severe bleeding, loss of strength or motion, signs of infection, obvious deformity, amputation, severe pain, or an exposure of tendons, bones, or other underlying structures.
- Eye Injuries: Obvious eye injuries are very disturbing, so people usually seek medical attention. With that said, it’s also important to seek medical attention if you experience bright, dark, or cloudy areas in your vision, since this could be a sign of a detached retina or other serious problem.
- Severe Burns: Although they can be very painful, minor burns typically require no professional medical assistance. On the other hand, because they can cause permanent tissue damage, serious burns demand quick attention. You should also seek treatment if the burn occurs on the ears, feet, hands, genitals, eyes, or major joints.
- Lacerations: Serious cuts and puncture wounds can cause severe bleeding and nerve damage. Medical intervention may be needed to stop bleeding, restore appearance and preserve function. you should also seek medical attention if a cut introduces foreign materials into the body.
Seeking Help for Other Injuries
Sometimes even minor symptoms can be signs of serious problems, especially for older adults who may have existing health issues. If you experience any of the following symptoms after an injury, seek immediate medical care:
- Wheezing or persistent shortness of breath
- Persistent chest pain
- Fainting or loss of balance
- Severe pain
- Paralysis or weakness
- Confusion, altered mental status or difficulty speaking
- Severe headache
- Heart palpitations
- Testicular swelling or pain
- Intestinal bleeding
- Vision problems
- Dislocated joints or broken bones
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Repeated vomiting
- Serious burns
Minor cuts or puncture wounds also warrant a doctor’s visit if you haven’t received a tetanus shot within the last five years.