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Should I wait before going to the emergency room (ER)?

You should wait before going to the emergency room (ER) under certain circumstances. If you’ve got some abdominal pain and you have one episode of vomiting and one episode of diarrhea, and you’re starting to feel better, you can tolerate some soup, the pain is slowly getting better, it doesn’t hurt when you get up and walk, you might say, “You know what? I’m going to wait it out for another hour or two and see what happens.”

You should not wait to go to the ER if you have symptoms that are concerning, that are getting worse, that aren’t getting better, that are preventing you from doing just normal activities—you can’t get up and walk because the pain is so bad. Or, you can’t eat because you are vomiting all the time, or your diarrhea has gotten to the point where you are light-headed and dizzy, then absolutely you need to be seen in an emergency department for those things.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

When in doubt, do not wait before going to the emergency room (ER). Many illnesses or injuries are not life threatening, however, a few require interventions that are time limited and must be done in the first few hours after symptoms start.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.