Four Types of Signs You Need Medical Help


We’re all interested in saving money and avoiding a trip to the doctors or the urgent care facility if we can avoid it. But sometimes you need medical care. When you’re not sure if you need to ask a doctor about your symptoms, but you suspect you might need medical help, here are a few signs that you really should visit a walk in clinic or emergency room near you:


Children are different from adults. Their needs are different and their bodies are still growing. While it’s more common for children to fall prey to various viruses and colds than adults usually do, it’s still important to know the warning signs that indicate a child needs medical help. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Blue or grey color to the skin
  • Severe vomiting
  • Inability to wake up or interact
  • Flu that seems to go away but returns with a fever and a worse cough
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Inability to keep down liquids (or refusal to take any)
  • Inconsolable irritability.
  • Seizures (unless already a diagnosed epileptic)
  • Sudden severe abdominal pain


There are different signs that could signal a serious situation for an adult. Get medical help if you notice any of the following in yourself or another adult:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Severe vomiting
  • Flu that seems to go away but returns with a fever and a worse cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Sudden weakness on one side of the body
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures (unless already a diagnosed epileptic)
  • Sudden severe abdominal pain

Accident or Injury

Whether you’re talking about an adult or a child, there are certain accidents or injuries that shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some times you must be sure to get medical help after an accident:

  • If there is a broken bone
  • Any gash longer than an inch or deeper than a surface laceration
  • Severe bleeding
  • Inability to speak, see, or walk after an accident
  • Breathing in smoke
  • Exposure to poisons
  • Head injury after an accident, even if seemingly minor
  • Allergic reaction to food or insect bite
  • Any puncture wound by an animal
  • Any burn other than the most minor.

Alcohol and Drugs

If you have a loved one who drinks a lot, who takes illegal drugs, or even who take prescribed drugs, it’s important to know the crucial signs that indicate they have had an overdose and need medical help. Here’s what to look for:

Alcohol Poisoning

The human liver is capable of processing one serving of alcohol in an hour. A serving is five ounces of wine, twelve ounces of beer or cider, or 1.5 ounces of most hard liquors such as vodka or whiskey. If a woman drinks more than four drinks in two hours or a man drinks more than five in that time frame, this is known as binge drinking.

Because alcohol takes time to move through the digestive system into the brain, a person may be poisoned even before the full amount of alcohol they have consumed is in their body. Look for these symptoms, and seek medical help for anyone who shows them after drinking:

  • Vomiting more than once
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Inability to walk
  • Inability to remain conscious
  • Depressed breathing
  • Seizure
  • Choking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Blue skin around the lips or fingernails.
  • Irregular pulse

Drug Overdoes

Whether a person is using an illicit drug or accidently overdoses on a legal prescription, it’s important to know the signs of an overdose. Signs of an overdose will vary, and if you have a loved one taking a certain prescription it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the particular signs of overdose for that drug. In general, however, the signs that someone has overdosed on a drug include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly continued
  • Chest pain
  • Inability to walk
  • Severe difficulty breathing or no breathing
  • Abnormally high temperature
  • Sudden violent behavior
  • Gurgling that sounds like the airway is blocked
  • Severe confusion often accompanied by paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Agitation that cannot be assuaged

There are some times when it’s fine to wait on seeing a doctor and see if you’ll just feel better on your own. If you or someone you known experiences any of the signs listed above, however, seek emergency care immediately. For life threatening emergencies, look for emergency room care. For urgent but non-life threatening medical needs, such as broken bones, consider getting medical help at an urgent care facility. Just be sure to know the signs so you know when to get the help you need.

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