Emergencies don’t stop for the holidays

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should ignore nagging symptoms.

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM for Medical Matters this morning.

Sommer said, “I’ve been in the medical field for a long time. So have doctors and nurses everywhere. There seems to be a surge of emergencies at the holidays, especially between Christmas and New Year’s because people have things going on and they put them off and then it turns into an emergency.”

Even this week, there were two emergencies at Key West Surgical Group.

Sommer said, “It’s not wrong to start with your regular doctor first when something’s going on, but if you can’t reach them, don’t wait for them. If it’s after hours, don’t wait for the morning if you have some type of pain, whether it’s abdominal pain, chest pain or something going on that you probably shouldn’t wait another 12 hours.”

Remember denial is a powerful mindset.

Sommer said, “It’s like a bad super power. Denial can change and alter the way people think.”

It’s important to remember when to go to the doctor, urgent care or the ER.

Sommer said, “A lot of people are like I don’t really want to go to the ER, so I’m going to go to urgent care. Meanwhile, they have chest pain or they have really bad abdominal pain with a fever.”

Symptoms to go to the ER for include choking, difficulty breathing, head injury (especially with loss of consciousness or fainting), any type of neck or spine injury, any shock or getting struck by lightning, severe burns, chest pain or pressure (don’t mess with that), any seizure, and any injury where body parts are hanging off or bleeding profusely.

Sommer said, “People will bump their head, they think they’re okay and a couple hours later, they’re not. Years ago I was working in New York and there was a 1-year-old and she bounced herself down the stairs in a highchair on Fourth of July, sometime early in the afternoon. She seemed okay. That night, she came in, she was lethargic. She actually had a bleed in her head. So it got progressively worse. So you just need to watch if you do knock yourself out.”  

Time is of the essence in some instances, particularly a heart attack.

Urgent care is different than the ER.

Sommer said, “They do a phenomenal job, but when they get bombarded with emergencies that they’re not used to, it’s a strain on everybody.”

Small cuts, flu, bad colds, sprains, muscle pulls, minor breaks of bones, fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting can all be seen at urgent care.

Sommer said, “They have x-rays, they have labs, they are well equipped.”

Chest pains can go both ways – sometimes it may be heartburn and sometimes it may be a heart attack. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Physicians at Key West Surgical Group can help over the holidays – a doctor is always on call.

Sommer said, “It’s always good to keep either our doctors or your primary care doctor in the loop of what’s going on. They do know your medical history and they can give you guidance on what to do.”

It’s never wrong to consult with your physician.

Skin abscesses can create real problems.

Sommer said, “You don’t want to let those go, either. These are the king of things we see. It started four days ago. I was here, I was there, I had this to do, I had that to do. I can give you a personal story about my husband. Years ago he went to sea camp with his school and he got a bite on his foot and didn’t tell me. Ten days later he was admitted for cellulitis of his foot when he finally couldn’t put his shoe on. He just kept thinking every day it would get better. It didn’t. He bought himself a hospitalization for three days.”

If a family member is trying to say all is well, take a look at the facial expressions.

Sommer said, “If they grimace or they’re guarded, there’s something more going on and they don’t want to ruin everybody’s holiday.”

With visiting relatives, they may be partaking in activities that aren’t in their usual wheelhouse.

Sommer said, “When you need medical attention, seek it.”

For more information, click here: https://www.keywestsurgicalgroup.com/