Bring a Medications List and Any Assistive Devices
Most Americans, 70 percent, take at least one prescription medication. That's not so bad, considering, for example, that one out of every three Americans has high blood pressure (hypertension). About 20 percent of adults take five or more medications [sources: Mayo Clinic, CDC]. When you look at elderly Americans, the number is much higher: More than 60 percent of people over the age of 65 take at least five prescribed drugs per week, and more than 15 percent of seniors take double that [source: Worth]. Who can keep track of all that information, from dosage to refills to the name of the doctor who prescribed what and when, right?
Keeping an updated list of all the medications and supplements you take, in addition to doses, frequency, information about your allergies and your vaccination history, can help reduce both drug interactions and allergic reactions. And you don't have to worry you've misremembered a dose or forgotten an important medication. Store your medications list on a piece of paper in your wallet, use a medical alert bracelet or download a medications app to keep track of your drug information across devices. At the very least, bring all current prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements with you.
Additionally, if you use any assistive devices — such as hearing aids, glasses, a walker or other mobility aid — on a daily or frequent basis, bring those devices with you to the ER. The more the emergency medical team understands your wellness baseline, how you normally function during the day, the better your odds of receiving an accurate — and potentially faster — diagnosis.