Infections as regular as the common cold can send people to the ER, too. Upper respiratory infections caused by viruses, including those responsible for the common cold and flu, are fairly widespread among emergency rooms.
Like most illnesses, upper respiratory infections may call for emergency care if symptoms are severe enough in a patient. For example, someone with the flu who is experiencing frequent vomiting might consider heading to the ER. Other symptoms such as fainting, continual diarrhea, changes in vision, and chest or abdominal pressure are ER-worthy, doctors say [source: American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation].
With that in mind, it's also true that most cases can be handled through urgent care, where trained professionals can provide expert treatment as well. To lessen the strain on emergency rooms, consider making it to an urgent care facility or see your primary physician before heading to the ER.
Our upcoming reason to visit the ER usually involves sharp objects. Read on to learn more.