Despite watching every episode of Grey's Anatomy, I have NO IDEA how the body works. So when u/ibishell asked medical professionals over on Reddit for signs you need to go to the hospital immediately, I started taking notes.
Here are some of the best responses they shared:
1. "I'm a mortician, and I can't tell you how many pick-ups I've done where someone shat blood, then decided to take a shower to clean up before getting help, and then died in the shower. If you shit blood, call an ambulance."
2. "After head trauma, if there's bruising under the eyes (racoon eyes) or bruising behind the ear, this usually indicates a skull fracture."
3. "A red line traveling from the site of a wound (even if it's just a scratch) towards your heart. That's blood poisoning, and you need to get to a doctor ASAP for intense antibiotics."
4. "If you injure your back and get an unexplained boner that won't go away, go to the hospital. This is called a priapism and is indicative of a severe spinal cord injury. Call an ambulance immediately!"
5. "People slurring their words without being under the influence of an intoxicant. An uncle was slurring his words while speaking to my aunt. She thought he might have been tired and told him to rest, but her friend suggested that maybe he should go to a doctor. Turns out my uncle was having a stroke. If he had laid down to rest, he may have never woken up."
"Even if a person has these symptoms only temporarily, they should still go to the hospital, as it can be a sign of an impending stroke. Don't wait to see if the symptoms go away!
I'm a neurology nurse and care for many stroke patients, and there are so many people that delay treatment that could have helped prevent severe disabilities because they wanted to see it it would resolve on its own." –u/woofles85
6. "If you start to feel dizzy, headaches or nausea and have gas appliances in the home (or open fires and log burners) GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. These are signs of a carbon monoxide leak. If you have pets that are acting weird as well this can also be a sign."
"Carbon monoxide is denser than air and will sit at a low level so opening windows WILL NOT CLEAR IT EFFECTIVELY." –u/thewrathofsloth17
7. "A lot of folks don't recognize the more common signs of concussion often include severe nausea, sweating, and a desire to lay down. It can seem like someone's got a sudden flu, so especially with kids, you should ask if they hit their head if they're suddenly sick."
8. "If you strike your head hard and you suddenly start vomiting with no nausea, call 911 and get to the emergency room."
10. "If someone seems drunk, they could have a dangerously low blood sugar. On the other side, if someone is shaking, breathing heavy, and has an altered mental status they could have an extremely high blood sugar and could be going into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis)."
11. "Many people neglect blood in your urine, but could be an inflammation of your kidney or bladder cancer."
12. "Flashes of light and a sudden increase in floaters (specks, hairs) in your vision is bad. Particularly if you are already myopic."
13. "Period so heavy it soaks through a pad in less than an hour. For some people this is sort of normal but if you are bleeding through everything GO TO THE HOSPITAL!"
14. "Pain in your leg without a cause that won't go away. Many people have DVTs (blood clots in the distal veins) that break off and can travel throughout the circulatory system, and can cause a stroke if they block the brain circulation."
15. "Chest pain. Although it's an obvious one, a surprising amount of people ignore chest pain. If you have chest pain that feels like a weight is on your chest, or like there's a band going around your chest and squeezing it, call for an ambulance."
16. "Kids get fevers all the time and feel sluggish. Not necessarily a big deal. But if your child develops a fever and a RASH that won't blanch on pressing head to the emergency room ASAP."
"It could be meningococcal sepsis and is rapidly life-threatening. If you are confused about whether it is non-blanching just press over it with a drinking glass. Looking through the glass you should be able to tell pretty easily if the spots disappear on pressing or not." –u/toto6120