Visit an Emergency Room Instead of Urgent Care Clinic : Difficulty Breathing

Visit an Emergency Room Instead of Urgent Care Clinic : Difficulty Breathing

When you’re having difficulty breathing, it can often be a sign of a more serious condition. Common causes include asthma attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure. Other symptoms can include excessive coughing, hoarseness, and chest pain. The best way to treat these conditions is often through medication or in a hospital setting. If you aren’t able to breathe properly for 15 minutes or longer, seek medical attention immediately at an emergency room (ER). A doctor will likely provide treatment by using oxygen and/or taking your blood pressure, among other actions.

You probably don’t need a doctor when you have difficulty breathing—you need oxygen. If you have asthma or another lung disease and can’t breathe, get help immediately. Pneumonia, which causes coughing and difficulty breathing, is another reason why you might want to head straight for an emergency room. Coughing up blood can be a sign of tuberculosis or an infection in your lungs that needs immediate treatment with antibiotics. Coughing up blood in combination with fever may be a sign of meningitis, also requiring antibiotics and medical attention right away.

Wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in your chest are all signs of asthma, a potentially life-threatening disease. Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms. Don’t use a home remedy; home remedies can make an asthma attack worse. Always take your medication with you and don’t leave it at home if you plan on leaving for long periods during school or work hours. Some people experience severe asthmatic episodes when exposed to environmental factors such as dust or smoke (especially cigarette smoke). When visiting someone at work or going into environments that might trigger your asthma, always carry your inhaler and make sure someone knows how to use it before you suffer an asthma attack.


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