10 Most Common Reasons for an ER Visit

There are any number of reasons you could find yourself in an emergency room. Do you know the top 10?
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When you think about emergency rooms, the dramatic, gurney-rolling scenes from TV and movies might flood your mind. But the truth is these portrayals overlook much of what typical ERs deal with regularly. Emergency services provide expert care to save lives, but they're also places people seek treatment for mysterious symptoms or when most doctors' offices are closed.

As we'll discuss, a few common reasons people venture to the emergency room might surprise you. Some reveal a bizarre side of the profession, while others represent the majority of cases seen in departments.

Because ER care varies worldwide, we'll focus more on cases in the United States. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logged approximately 124 million visits to the ER, with only 42 million of those being injury-related [source: CDC].

Although you might not associate some reasons on the list with visiting the ER, it's important to keep in mind the causes for illness and how people react to it differs greatly. If you believe you're experiencing a medical emergency, don't be afraid to call 911 and talk to an expert if you don't know what to do or need help. People can be taken to the ER by ambulances with paramedics or, in non-life-threatening cases, a friend or family member can drive the patient to the hospital.

So what are 10 common reasons to make a trip to the ER?

First, we'll look at a condition that typifies perceptions of emergency rooms. Read more on the following page.