Tips on When to Seek Medical Attention for Common Ailments

As humans, you occasionally experience aches, pains, and medical issues. While many common ailments are minor and will go away alone or can be self-treated, some symptoms require prompt medical attention to avoid complications or serious health issues. It is important to know when experiencing certain symptoms, diseases, or conditions, warrants contacting your doctor immediately.

Persistent or Worsening Symptoms

You should consult your doctor if you notice symptoms such as back pain, nausea, dizziness, or other issues persisting for more than a few days or worsening over time. Conditions that linger can often become more serious if left untreated. Your doctor can determine the cause of ongoing symptoms and prescribe medication or other treatments to relieve and avoid further health issues. With worsening back pain, make sure to contact your back and spine specialist in Phoenix immediately.

Severe Pain or Discomfort

Mild to moderate pain can often be managed at home with rest, over-the-counter medications, and by applying ice/heat. However, severe, or intense pain usually requires medical evaluation and treatment. Severe pain can be a sign of an injury that needs immediate care to prevent complications. Seek emergency medical help for chest pain, sudden vision changes, pain from injuries, or pain that does not improve with self-care.

High Fever

A normal body temperature of around 98.6 F. Fevers over 101 F can indicate an infection and require medical attention, especially in young or elderly adults. High fevers left untreated can lead to seizures in some individuals. See your doctor if a fever does not come down with home treatments, is accompanied by other symptoms, or reaches over 103 F.

Shortness of Breath or Chest Pain

Difficulty breathing or chest pain should be evaluated immediately, as they can signal a serious medical issue like a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. Call your district’s emergency number or go to an emergency room if you experience pressure or squeezing chest pain, pain radiating to the arm or jaw, difficulty catching your breath, or shortness of breath at rest.

Head Injury or Loss of Consciousness

Any head injury resulting in loss of consciousness warrants emergency care. Even minor head injuries can cause issues like brain bleeds or skull fractures if left untreated. Seek medical help immediately if you experience dizziness, vomiting, confusion or memory problems, weakness, or blurred vision after hitting your head.

During this state, you might feel tired or sleepy, but the important part is not sleeping until you get professional help. In the worst scenario, you might have a concussion, sleeping during such a state can be disastrous, and losing consciousness after a head injury is a medical emergency.

Abnormal Bleeding or Discharge

Your doctor should evaluate excessive bleeding from any body area or abnormal discharge. Heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in the urine or stool, and unexplained vaginal bleeding between periods require a prompt medical assessment to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. If you keep one, check your diary to see if heavy bleeding is normal for your cycle. If not, you might need to seek professional assistance.

Changes in Vision or Hearing

Sudden changes in vision, hearing, or senses can indicate an urgent medical issue and should be evaluated immediately. See your doctor or an emergency room for symptoms such as double vision or vision loss, ringing in the ears or muffled hearing, vertigo or dizziness, or loss of sensation. These symptoms require diagnosis and prompt treatment to avoid potential vision or hearing loss if left untreated.

Allergic Reactions or Swelling

Hives, itching, and swelling of the throat, face, extremities, or other areas can represent a dangerous allergic reaction. Seek emergency care for symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as airway swelling, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, or confusion which can be life-threatening. Even if you have experienced mild to moderate allergy symptoms in the past, each reaction can differ in severity, so consult your doctor with any symptoms beyond your normal response.


Knowing when to seek medical care for certain symptoms or conditions can help avoid complications and prevent minor issues from becoming more serious. See your doctor right away if you notice symptoms or conditions that are persistent, worsening, intensely painful, potentially infectious, or indicative of a life-threatening issue. While self-care is suitable for many common ailments, some symptoms require prompt diagnosis and treatment by a medical professional.