Six preventive tips to stay out of the ER


Hospital emergency departments are busy locations all year long. At the moment, wait instances are up, and area is restricted at emergency departments throughout Alabama.

Luckily, UAB Drugs presents a number of various care choices for sufferers with circumstances or sicknesses that, whereas severe, might not require the companies of an emergency division. On high of that, physicians from the College of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink Faculty of Drugs say there are steps individuals can take that will assist them keep away from the emergency division altogether.

Get an annual checkup

Emergency division workers deal with a wide range of circumstances day by day, however a few of these may have been prevented or found earlier via annual checkups. At annual visits, docs can get an general snapshot of the affected person’s well being; they will higher perceive how a affected person’s organs are functioning; decide if the affected person is experiencing any vitamin deficiencies; and check for sure markers of illnesses and well being circumstances reminiscent of diabetes, most cancers and coronary heart illness that will trigger the affected person issues down the street.

“Getting a yearly checkup offers your physician the chance to do essential screenings and to probably determine issues that put you in danger for issues like weight problems and hypertension,” stated Dr. Stephen Russell, a professor within the Division of Drugs and doctor at UAB Drugs Leeds. “If you attend your yearly checkup, your physician could possibly enable you hold preventable sicknesses from changing into a well being disaster.”

Don’t skip well being screenings

“Through the pandemic, some individuals might have put their routine well being care on pause, nevertheless it’s at all times a great time to get your screenings and checkups again on observe,” Russell stated. “By performing the really useful screenings, your physician could possibly detect and deal with sure illnesses early earlier than they develop into extra extreme and result in a hospital go to.”

Some routine medical screenings really useful by the American Most cancers Society embrace these for colon most cancers, breast most cancers, cervical most cancers, prostate most cancers and lung most cancers.

Along with most cancers screenings, Russell additionally recommends screenings for despair, blood strain, levels of cholesterol, sexually transmitted illnesses, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Keep updated on vaccines

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention recommends vaccines based mostly on age, prior vaccinations, well being, way of life, occupation, journey locations and sexual exercise; however everybody’s wants could also be totally different based mostly on these elements.

Getting a flu vaccine gives safety in opposition to extreme sickness. (UAB)

“Vaccines are one of the crucial handy and most secure preventive care measures accessible,” stated Dr. Sumayah Abed, assistant professor within the Division of Household and Group Drugs and household medication doctor at UAB Drugs Hoover Main and Specialty Care. “Routine vaccinations stop and reduce the results of sicknesses that might result in pointless medical visits and hospitalizations.”

Since immunity from vaccines can put on off over time, it can be crucial for everybody to remain updated on any essential booster doses and age-appropriate vaccines to assist shield themselves and others from infectious illnesses as they age. For a full listing of age-appropriate vaccines for each kids and adults, go to

Prioritize self-care

Psychological well being encompasses one’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. It’s important to general well being and high quality of life and impacts how one thinks, feels, acts and responds.

“Caring to your psychological well being is simply as vital as caring to your bodily well being,” Abed stated. “Self-care can play a task in sustaining not just one’s bodily well being however one’s psychological well being as nicely, and aids in supporting therapy and restoration for individuals with a psychological sickness.”

Based on the Nationwide Institute of Psychological Well being, self-care merely means taking the time to do issues that assist individuals reside nicely and enhance their bodily and psychological well being. Self-care can embrace something from consuming a balanced eating regimen or aiming for at the least half-hour of bodily exercise per day to taking time for stress-reducing actions reminiscent of yoga, meditation and respiration workouts. Study extra about what self-care is and the steps one can take to prioritize it right here.

Typically circumstances adversely have an effect on psychological well being, resulting in larger misery that makes it more durable to operate and have interaction with the issues that matter to a person. When stress turns into an excessive amount of to bear, this will result in a psychological well being disaster. Along with prioritizing self-care, Abed says, it’s useful to know the indicators of an impending psychological well being concern to know when to hunt assist.

Some signs that will point out an impending psychological well being concern embrace:

  • Low vitality or fatigue.
  • Problem concentrating.
  • Modifications in urge for food.
  • Modifications in sleep patterns.
  • Feeling remoted, not wanting to go away the home and be with others.
  • Emotions of guilt, disappointment, hopelessness, helplessness or fear.
  • Ideas of suicide, self-harm or hurt to others.
  • Extreme ingesting, substance abuse or smoking.

“In case you get to a degree the place managing your state of affairs by yourself just isn’t attainable, you will need to search assist,” Abed stated. “Speak to a well being care supplier who might help you interpret your signs and join you with the assets that you simply want. In case you are eager about hurting your self or others, that you must go to the emergency division instantly. You too can name 911 or the Nationwide Suicide and Disaster Hotline at 988 for twenty-four/7 help.”

Watch what you drink

Extreme alcohol use can result in each short- and long-term well being dangers.

Overdose of alcohol can happen when an individual has blood alcohol content material, or BAC, adequate to provide impairments that improve the chance of hurt. Age, ingesting expertise, gender, the quantity of meals eaten and even ethnicity can affect BAC. Vital indicators and signs of alcohol poisoning embrace:

  • Confusion.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Sluggish respiration.
  • Irregular respiration.
  • Hypothermia.

“As BAC will increase, so does alcohol’s results and the chance for hurt,” stated Megan Hays, Ph.D., affiliate professor and scientific psychologist within the UAB Division of Bodily Drugs and Rehabilitation. “Even small will increase in BAC can lower coordination, make an individual really feel sick and impair judgment. This could result in damage from falls or automotive crashes, depart yet another weak to sexual assault or different acts of violence, and improve the chance for unprotected, unintended intercourse.”

Fast results of extreme alcohol use can embrace alcohol poisoning and accidents reminiscent of motorcar crashes, falls, drownings and burns. Lengthy-term results embrace hypertension, coronary heart illness, stroke and liver illness; psychological well being issues reminiscent of despair and nervousness; and weakening of the immune system. Avoiding extreme alcohol use can cut back the chance of those short- and long-term well being dangers.

Folks typically flip to medication and alcohol when one thing of their life is lacking or not working, so Abed says it can be crucial for everybody to take steps to keep up a well-balanced life. Though a well-balanced life appears to be like totally different for everybody, some areas which can be value inspecting are the time spent between work, leisure, household and alone time. The flexibility to forestall alcohol and substance misuse begins with sustaining a correct stability between every of these items.

“Psychological well being circumstances and substance misuse typically go hand in hand,” Abed stated. “Along with sustaining a balanced life, everybody ought to prioritize their psychological well being and self-care to assist cut back the possibility of turning to medication or alcohol to deal with any stressors.”

Study extra in regards to the dangers of alcohol and substance misuse and steps one can take to reduce the dangers right here.

Keep hydrated

Extreme alcohol additionally results in dehydration, inflicting the physique to take away fluids from the blood via the renal system, together with the kidneys and bladder, at a a lot faster price than different liquids. When dehydration happens, the physique doesn’t have sufficient water and different fluids to hold out its regular operate.

Some delicate signs of dehydration embrace lethargy, confusion, fatigue, elevated thirst, dry mouth, headache, constipation and decreased urinary output. Extreme signs of dehydration embrace dizziness, speedy heartbeat, speedy respiration and fainting. Extreme dehydration is a medical emergency and will result in an emergency division go to.

To keep away from dehydration, it can be crucial for everybody to eat the really useful variety of fluids every day — 3.7 liters of fluids a day for males and a couple of.7 liters of fluids a day for girls. Though water is a good way to get these fluids in every day, drinks reminiscent of milk, juice and natural teas additionally might help one keep hydrated. Water-rich meals — reminiscent of watermelon, oranges, grapefruits, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, inexperienced peppers, spinach and lettuce — additionally might help with hydration.

“By consuming sufficient water and hydrating meals, particularly if you find yourself out within the warmth or being bodily lively, you may meet your physique’s hydration wants and keep away from a go to to the emergency division,” Russell stated.

Study extra about keep hydrated right here.

Benefit from different assets

“For non-emergent conditions, there are different assets accessible that will enable you keep away from a go to to the emergency division,” Russell stated.

All UAB Drugs sufferers have entry to their well being care group by calling 205-934-3411 or by  sending a message to their supplier via the UAB Drugs affected person portal.

“In case you are not feeling nicely and assume you want the next stage of care than at-home treatments, you may simply entry your medical supplier via these channels,” Russell stated. “You too can make the most of UAB eMedicine, the place a educated group of medical professionals is obtainable that can assist you type via your signs. In case you are ever not sure about whether or not you’re experiencing a medical emergency, we suggest going to the closest emergency division.”

UAB eMedicine presents two kinds of on-demand pressing care choices, together with an on-demand pressing care on-line questionnaire the place sufferers can fill out a brief kind and get a prognosis and therapy for routine sicknesses and customary circumstances. Sufferers can even arrange an on-demand pressing care video go to that entails a well being care supplier who will consider signs, make a prognosis, suggest therapy and ship prescriptions to the affected person’s pharmacy.

Along with UAB eMedicine, many UAB physicians provide scheduled clinic video visits the place sufferers can deal with their considerations straight with their main care supplier, permitting sufferers to keep away from the drive and wait instances.

By taking preventive steps reminiscent of annual checkups, medical screenings and staying updated on vaccines, sufferers with non-emergent medical circumstances can keep away from a visit to the emergency division.

To be taught extra in regards to the companies UAB Drugs gives, go to

This story initially appeared on the UAB Information web site.


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