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10 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

In a recent issue of BCI’s healthcare magazine My Hometown Health, Howie Mandel, comedian and host of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, reveals how he knew that he should have sought help from his provider when he was persistently out of breath.  But with his incredibly hectic production schedule (he still serves as an executive producer and host for CNBC’s Deal Or No Deal and performs as many as 200 stand up shows a year), Mandel kept finding excuses not to seek help until he was finally diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib). Ignoring certain symptoms can lead to an ER visit or hospitalization, two situations that everyone wants to avoid. If you experience any of these 10 symptoms, see your provider:

  1.  A Persistent High Fever
    Having a fever is an indication that your body is fighting an infection. A fever above 103˚ or a fever that lasts more than three days could be signs of a serious infection.
  • A Cold That Becomes Severe
    See your provider if your cold doesn’t go away or develops the following symptoms:
    • A severe cough that lasts more than two weeks. This could be a sign of whooping cough.
    • A fever, muscle aches or other flu-like symptoms. This is especially true for seniors, expectant mothers and people with heart disease.
    • Extreme difficulty swallowing, chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Sudden Weight Loss
    If you lose more than 10 percent of your body weight in six months (and you’re not obese), it could be a sign of an overactive thyroid, liver disease, depression or other medical conditions.
  • Shortness of Breath
    This could be a sign of asthma, bronchitis or another medical condition that affects the lungs, especially if the symptoms are strong and come on suddenly.
  • Severe Chest, Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
    All of these symptoms immediately demand a provider’s attention.  Chest pain could indicate a heart attack. Pain in the abdomen can be a sign of gallstones, especially if there’s nausea and vomiting. Pelvic pain could indicate a kidney infection or appendicitis.
  • Changes in Urination or Bowel Movement
    These can include bloody or black stools, diarrhea, constipation or excessive urination.
  • A Recent Fall
    If you’ve fallen on your head or suffered a blow to the head, you need to watch for signs of a concussion. Symptoms include headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleepiness and fatigue. If you experience any of these, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Unexpected Symptoms After a Procedure or Starting a New Medication
    Before you have a medical procedure or surgery, get an immunization, or start a medication, be sure you understand the known symptoms. Call your provider if you experience something unexpected.
  • Confusion or Changes in Mood
    Trouble thinking or focusing, irregular sleep patterns, or feelings of anxiety or depression can be the sign of a mental health issue or an infection or drug interaction.
  1. Bright Flashes of Light
    If you’re experiencing sudden bright flashes of light in your vision, it could be a sign of retinal detachment, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss.

Brentwood Communications helps hospitals stay in touch with their communities through an informative and cost-effective digital and printed magazine called My Hometown Health, a powerful tool to help promote better health and raise awareness of key services available at the hospital. We make creating and publishing a customized, local community health magazine easy and convenient. Click here to discover more about how Brentwood Communications specializes in promoting non-urban hospitals. 

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