Emergency Medicine

If you need immediate attention for a life-threatening illness or injury, you turn to emergency medicine, which is typically available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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A

Symptoms
Abdominal pain - children under age 12
Almost all children have abdominal pain at one time or another. Abdominal pain is pain in the stomach or belly area. It can be anywhere between the chest and groin. Most of the time, it is not caused by...

Injury
Abdominal thrusts
Choking is when someone is having a very hard time breathing because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). A choking person's airway may be blocked so that not enough...

Self-Care Instructions
Achilles tendon rupture - aftercare
Heel cord tear; Calcaneal tendon rupture

Diseases & Conditions
Acute mountain sickness
Acute mountain sickness is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or travelers at high altitudes, usually above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).

Injury
Allergic reactions
Allergic reactions are sensitivities to substances called allergens that come into contact with the skin, nose, eyes, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. They can be breathed into the lungs,...

Self-Care Instructions
Animal bites - self-care
Bites - animals - self-care

Self-Care Instructions
Ankle fracture - aftercare
Malleolar fracture; Tri-malleolar; Bi-malleolar; Distal tibia fracture; Distal fibula fracture; Malleolus fracture

B

Self-Care Instructions
Bicycle safety
Many cities and states have bike lanes and laws that protect bicycle riders. But riders are still at risk of being hit by cars. Therefore, you need to ride carefully, obey the laws, and watch for other...

Diseases & Conditions
Blockage of upper airway
Blockage of the upper airway occurs when the upper breathing passages become narrowed or blocked, making it hard to breathe. Areas in the upper airway that can be affected are the windpipe (trachea), voice...

Tests
Breath alcohol test
A breath alcohol test determines how much alcohol is in your blood. The test measures the amount of alcohol in the air you breathe out (exhale).

Symptoms
Breathing - slowed or stopped
Breathing that stops from any cause is called apnea. Slowed breathing is called bradypnea. Labored or difficult breathing is known as dyspnea.

Injury
Breathing difficulties - first aid
Most people take breathing for granted. People with certain illnesses may have breathing problems that they deal with on a regular basis. This article discusses first aid for someone who is having unexpected...

Self-Care Instructions
Broken collarbone - aftercare
Collarbone fracture - aftercare; Clavicle fracture - aftercare; Clavicular fracture

Self-Care Instructions
Broken toe - self-care
Fractured toe - self-care; Broken bone - toe - self-care; Fracture - toe - self-care; Fracture phalanx - toe

Injury
Burns
Burns commonly occur by direct or indirect contact with heat, electric current, radiation, or chemical agents. Burns can lead to cell death.

Special Topics
Burns - resources

C

Injury
CPR
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is an emergency lifesaving procedure that is done when someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after an electric shock, heart attack...

Injury
CPR - adult and child 9 years and older
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a lifesaving procedure that is done when someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after an electric shock, drowning, or heart attack...

Injury
CPR - child (1 to 8 years old)
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a lifesaving procedure that is done when a child's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after drowning, suffocation, choking, or an injury...

Injury
CPR - infant
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a lifesaving procedure that is done when a baby's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after drowning, suffocation, choking, or other injuries...

Symptoms
Chest pain
Chest pain is discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen.

Injury
Choking - adult or child over 1 year
Choking is when someone is having a very hard time breathing because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). A choking person's airway may be blocked so that not enough...

Injury
Choking - infant under 1 year
Choking is when someone cannot breathe because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). This article discusses choking in infants.

Injury
Choking - unconscious adult or child over 1 year
Choking is when someone cannot breathe because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). A choking person's airway may be blocked so that not enough oxygen reaches the lungs...

Self-Care Instructions
Closed reduction of a fractured bone
Fracture reduction - closed

Diseases & Conditions
Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
A collapsed lung occurs when air escapes from the lung. The air then fills the space outside of the lung, between the lung and chest wall. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand...

Diseases & Conditions
Concussion
A concussion may occur when the head hits an object, or a moving object strikes the head. A concussion is a minor or less severe type of brain injury, which may also be called a traumatic brain injury....

Injury
Crush injury
A crush injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body part. This type of injury most often happens when part of the body is squeezed between 2 heavy objects. Damage related to crush injuries include...

Injury
Cuts and puncture wounds
A cut is a break or opening in the skin. It is also called a laceration. A cut may be deep, smooth, or jagged. It may be near the surface of the skin, or deeper. A deep cut can affect tendons, muscles,...

D

Injury
Drug use first aid
Drug use is the misuse or overuse of any medicine or drug, including alcohol. This article discusses first aid for drug overdose and withdrawal. Drug use overdose

E

Injury
Electrical injury
An electrical injury is damage to the skin or internal organs when a person comes into direct contact with an electrical current.

Tests
Endotracheal intubation
Endotracheal intubation is a medical procedure in which a tube is placed into the windpipe (trachea) through the mouth or nose. In most emergency situations, it is placed through the mouth. Whether you...

Special Topics
Eschar
Eschar is dead tissue that falls off (sheds) from healthy skin. It is caused by a burn or cauterization (destroying tissue with heat or cold, or another method). burn cauterization An escharotic is a substance...

F

Self-Care Instructions
Fire safety at home
Smoke alarms or detectors work even when you cannot smell smoke. Tips for proper use include: Install them in hallways, in or near all sleeping areas, the kitchen, and garage.Test them once a month. Change...

Special Topics
First aid kit

Injury
Fishhook removal
This article discusses how to remove a fishhook that is stuck in the skin.

Injury
Foreign body in the nose
This article discusses first aid for a foreign object placed into the nose.

Injury
Foreign object - inhaled or swallowed
If you breathe a foreign object into your nose, mouth, or respiratory tract, it may become stuck and cause breathing problems or choking. It can also lead to inflammation and infection. respiratory choking...

Injury
Frostbite
Frostbite is damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by extreme cold. Frostbite is the most common freezing injury.

G

Diseases & Conditions
Gangrene
Gangrene is the death of tissue in part of the body.

Self-Care Instructions
Gunshot wounds - aftercare

H

Self-Care Instructions
Hand fracture - aftercare
Boxer's fracture - aftercare; Metacarpal fracture - aftercare

Injury
Head injury - first aid
A head injury is any trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain. The injury may be only a minor bump on the skull or a serious brain injury. Head injury can be either closed or open (penetrating). A closed head...

Injury
Heart attack first aid
A heart attack is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack. heart attack The average person waits 3 hours before seeking help...

Injury
Heat emergencies
Heat emergencies or illnesses are caused by exposure to extreme heat and sun. Heat illnesses can be prevented by being careful in hot, humid weather.

Special Topics
Heimlich maneuver on self

Injury
How to make a sling
A sling is a device used to support and keep still (immobilize) an injured part of the body. Slings can be used for many different injuries. They are most often used when you have a broken (fractured) or...

Self-Care Instructions
Human bites - self-care
Bites - human - self-care

Injury
Hypothermia
Hypothermia is dangerously low body temperature, below 95°F (35°C).

Diseases & Conditions
Hypovolemic shock
Hypovolemic shock is an emergency condition in which severe blood or fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. This type of shock can cause many organs to stop working. shock

I

Injury
Insect bites and stings
Insect bites and stings can cause an immediate skin reaction. The bite from fire ants and the sting from bees, wasps, and hornets are most often painful. Bites caused by mosquitoes, fleas, and mites are...

L

Self-Care Instructions
Laceration - sutures or staples - at home
Skin cut - caring for stitches; Skin cut - suture care; Skin cut - caring for staples

Self-Care Instructions
Lacerations - liquid bandage
Skin adhesives; Tissue adhesive; Skin cut - liquid bandage; Wound - liquid bandage

M

Diseases & Conditions
Marijuana intoxication
Marijuana ("pot") intoxication is the euphoria, relaxation, and sometimes undesirable side effects that can occur when people use marijuana. use marijuana Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug...

Injury
Marine animal stings or bites
Marine animal stings or bites refer to venomous or poisonous bites or stings from any form of sea life, including jellyfish. There are about 2,000 species of animals found in the ocean that are either venomous...

Discharge Instructions
Metatarsal fracture (acute) - aftercare
Broken foot - metatarsal; Jones fracture; Dancer's fracture; Foot fracture

Poison
Methamphetamine overdose
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug. A strong form of the drug is illegally sold on the streets. A much weaker form of the drug is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ...

N

Self-Care Instructions
Nasal fracture - aftercare
Your nose has 2 bones at the bridge of your nose and a long piece of cartilage (flexible but strong tissue) that gives your nose its shape. A nasal fracture occurs when the bony part of your nose has been...

Injury
Near drowning
"Near drowning" means a person almost died from not being able to breathe (suffocating) under water. If a person has been rescued from a near-drowning situation, quick first aid and medical attention are...

P

Injury
Poisoning first aid
Poisoning is caused by exposure to a harmful substance. This can be due to swallowing, injecting, breathing in, or other means. Most poisonings occur by accident. Immediate first aid is very important in...

Poison
Propane poisoning
Propane is a colorless and odorless flammable gas that can turn into liquid under very cold temperatures. This article discusses the harmful effects from breathing in or swallowing propane. Breathing in...

R

Self-Care Instructions
Radial head fracture - aftercare
Elbow fracture - radial head - aftercare

Special Topics
Recognizing medical emergencies
Getting medical help right away for someone who is having a medical emergency can save their life. This article describes the warning signs of a medical emergency and how to be prepared.

Self-Care Instructions
Rib fracture - aftercare
Broken rib - aftercare

S

Injury
Shock
Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow. Lack of blood flow means that the cells and organs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly...

Self-Care Instructions
Shoulder separation - aftercare
Separated shoulder - aftercare; Acromioclavicular joint separation - aftercare; A/C separation - aftercare

Symptoms
Skin - clammy
Clammy skin is cool, moist, and usually pale. pale

Injury
Skull fracture
A skull fracture is a fracture or break in the cranial (skull) bones. fracture

Injury
Snake bites
Snake bites occur when a snake bites the skin. They are medical emergencies if the snake is venomous. Venomous animals account for a large number of deaths and injuries worldwide. Snakes alone are estimated...

Symptoms
Subcutaneous emphysema
Subcutaneous emphysema occurs when air gets into tissues under the skin. This most often occurs in the skin covering the chest wall or neck, but can also occur in other parts of the body.

T

Tests
Toxicology screen
A toxicology screen refers to various tests that determine the type and approximate amount of legal and illegal drugs a person has taken.

Special Topics
Toxins
Toxins are substances created by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. Toxins also include some medicines that are helpful in small doses, but poisonous in large amounts. Most toxins that cause...

U

Injury
Unconsciousness - first aid
Unconsciousness is when a person is unable to respond to people and activities.  Doctors often call this a coma or being in a comatose state. coma Other changes in awareness can occur without becoming unconscious...

Tests
Urine drug screen
A urine drug screen is used to detect illegal and some prescription drugs in the urine.

W

Self-Care Instructions
Water safety and drowning
Drowning is a leading cause of death among people of all ages. Learning and practicing water safety is important to prevent drowning accidents.

Special Topics
When to use the emergency room - child
Emergency room - child; Emergency department - child; Urgent care - child; ER - when to use