Do I Need a Doctor?

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Doctors are there to help us, but they’re not always the answer. 

It’s important for everyone to know when it’s time to ask a doctor for help. But of course, sometimes you may be wondering if you need one in the first place! 

We all have those days where we feel “under the weather” and then by bedtime we’re feeling better. Or maybe we had a really rough day at work and our stomach is upset from all that stress, or maybe that headache just won’t go away no matter what you do? 

Sometimes these things can be fixed with home remedies such as rest and relaxation or taking an over-the-counter medication like Tylenol. Other times though, these signs could be indicative of something more serious. The key is to know when it’s time to call the doctor.

With that said, here are 9 tests and symptoms you should never ignore because they could be warning signs for serious health conditions in children and adults:

1). Chest Pain or Discomfort  (including those that come with coughing, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath).

2). Difficulty Swallowing  (there could be a possibility that you have an object stuck in your throat) or a sudden change in bowel movements, for example from the normal hard stools to diarrhea.

3). Headache, especially one that is unusual (it’s different than headaches you’ve had before or it’s more intense than usual).

4). Dizziness , especially if you feel like your head is spinning. It could be a sign of low blood pressure and needs to be checked out immediately.

5). Blurring vision, especially blurry, double vision that comes on suddenly (either one eye or both) that’s accompanied by a pain in your eyes, and/or a headache. Also if you notice changes in color vision or visual distortions.

6). Nausea  (especially if it’s not relieved by vomiting) that comes on suddenly, especially with fever and chills.

7). Confusion , such as difficulty finding the right word or having a hard time following a conversation. It could be caused by low blood sugar (if it’s due to decreased food intake, this can be fixed with eating some type of quick-energy snack). But if you’re not sure what the cause is and there’s an object stuck in your throat, this should not be ignored.

8). Slurred speech, especially if it’s accompanied by a sudden change in your level of consciousness (for example, you’re not able to follow directions).

9). Severe pain in the upper abdomen that doesn’t go away and is severe enough to warrant calling the doctor.

For young children:  If they have a fever that lasts 3 days (whichever comes first) and it’s not relieved by Tylenol. Fever is one of the body’s natural ways to fight infection, but if a young child has a fever for more than 3 days without relief, this suggests that something more serious is going on in their bodies.

If they have unexplained bleeding from the nose or eyes.

If they have suffered a head injury that’s severe enough to cause unconsciousness or is accompanied by confusion or dizziness.

When in doubt, it’s best to call the doctor instead of waiting until tomorrow and hoping for the best. 

If you’re not sure if something is serious, you can always call your doctor on the weekend as well as they should be able to help you. It’s better to spend a few dollars on a doctor call than it is to end up in the emergency room hundreds or thousands of dollars later, and with little or no insurance, this can happen quickly if you’re not careful!

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