Learn About Safety Precautions In Emergency Rooms That Will Protect You From COVID-19 When You Need Immediate Medical Care
News stories are filled with statistics of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The reports may have made you or your loved one, like many others, afraid of going to an emergency room. Pegasus home care professionals in Toluca Lake and elsewhere know the symptoms that indicate you should seek medical care immediately.
Minimizing exposure to the virus by physical distancing has been emphasized since the pandemic began. Many elective procedures have been postponed. Conferences with healthcare providers are conducted via telephone or video.
All these precautions have made individuals reluctant to seek medical care when they are sick. They fear exposing themselves to COVID-19 if they go to an emergency room. That fear is unwarranted, and it keeps them from getting the immediate care that’s essential for their survival.
Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Seeking Immediate Care
Medical facilities have instituted policies and measures to keep you safe from contagion. They know that heart attacks, strokes, and other life-threatening conditions don’t stop during a pandemic. When you need emergency medical care, they can provide it safely.
Experts say that fear should not stop you from seeking immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain or pressure
- Chest pain or pressure
- Diarrhea that’s sudden or persistent
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty speaking
- Face drooping
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden dizziness
- Sudden or severe pain
- Vomiting that’s sudden or persistent
These are often emergencies, and quick treatment can mean life rather than death.
Depending on the severity, burns, concussions, broken bones, and other injuries from accidents may need immediate attention. If you are in doubt, call your healthcare practitioner first.
Some conditions may not warrant emergency treatment but may need urgent medical care. These are symptoms such as:
- Bright flashes – if you experience bright flashes in your vision, you may have a detached retina. Delaying treatment can result in blindness.
- Colds that don’t go away – you usually recover from a cold within a few days. If it continues and you develop additional symptoms, you may have another illness. Talk to a doctor if you develop a persistent cough that lasts, fever, difficulty swallowing, breathing problems, or digestive issues.
- Fever – your temperature rises as your body fights infection. Consult your physician for fevers greater than 103 F or that last for more than three days.
- Unexpected symptoms after a procedure or medication change – these can indicate an infection or a potentially serious reaction.
- Unexplained weight loss – losing 10 percent or more of your weight within six months if you’re not dieting can indicate a problem.
You may avoid a trip to an emergency room by attending promptly to these symptoms. If they escalate, don’t hesitate to seek immediate care.
If you already have COVID-19, you may need emergency care if you experience:
- Chest pain or pressure that persists
- Difficulty breathing
- Lips or face turning blue
As these symptoms overlap with other life-threatening conditions, do not delay seeking treatment.
Your Safety From Contagion Is Their Priority
Hospitals, emergency rooms, and other medical facilities have instituted a range of safety precautions. Their goal is to make sure that both COVID and non-COVID patients get all the care they need. Measures designed to protect you from contagion include:
- Disinfecting surfaces
- Maintaining physical distancing in all areas of the facility
- Not allowing visitors
- Placing COVID and non-COVID patients in separate areas
- Requiring emergency room staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Requiring patients and other staff to wear masks
- Screening staff and patients for COVID-19
As a patient, avoid touching any part of your face. If you don’t have hand sanitizer with you, ask for it to be provided, and use it.
Ambulances Are Disinfected Between Patients
Individuals usually call 911 during a medical emergency, and an ambulance is dispatched. Ambulance personnel are usually EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) or paramedics. Even before the pandemic, they received training in safely transporting contagious and non-contagious patients.
The CDC has increased the decontamination recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations are meant to minimize exposure for medical first responders as well as the patients. At a minimum, the ambulance personnel will be wearing PPE.
They may use hand sanitizer before and after touching you. You will see personnel either disinfect or throw away any equipment or supplies used in your care. After you are transported to the appropriate medical facility, the ambulance is thoroughly disinfected before the next transport.
Medical first responders, healthcare providers, and the staff at medical facilities have learned a lot since the pandemic started. Safeguards have been implemented for every aspect of your care. Fear of COVID is no longer a reason for not getting care for life-threatening emergencies.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our home care services in Toluca Lake and our other locations are based on adhering to the highest ethical and clinical standards. Our professionals are dedicated to helping you live safely at home.