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5 Red Flags That Indicate You Need Immediate Medical Care

If you have ever had a dog, you know that they try their best to communicate. Through looks, actions, sometimes sounds, they try to tell us how they feel, what they want. The problem is, we don’t always understand them or sometimes we don’t even pay attention.

Your body is like a pet that is trying to talk to you. You can learn a lot if you just listen and then think to act on what you hear. Your body doesn’t like to chit chat. When it complains, it is sending up “red flags” so you will know to look for something beyond some strange stomach noise or weird ache.

Metro Urgent Care has put together a list of 5 symptoms that indicate a credible need for immediate medical care. When these “flags” are raised by your body, see a medical care provider as soon as possible. Of course, we recommend Metro Urgent Care because we are convenient, fast, have extended evening and weekend hours, an in-house lab, and on-site x-rays. And unlike many alternatives, we see walk-ins fast and we generally cost less. Sometimes a lot less.

Here are a handful of red flags that merit urgent care:

  • Abdominal Pain – a tummy ache is sometimes more than just a disagreeable burrito. Severe abdominal discomfort, especially if it is sensitive to touch, could an impending appendicitis or an acute digestive malfunction. Or it could herald the first signs of food allergies, food poisoning, kidney stones, pelvic inflammatory disease, ulcer, or a life-threatening issue. If it is severe or even “not so bad” and doesn’t pass in a short period, don’t put off seeing a professional.
  • Acute Headache– a sharp pain behind your eyes of elsewhere can indicate a multitude growing issues. Migraines are not always just migraines; you might be dealing with a life-threatening aneurysm. Or there could be a severe psychological or stress issue you are trying to suppress that could lead to more serious, physical problems if left unattended. It is not worth taking the risk. If you hurt, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Dizziness & Fainting – these warning signs often indicate a stroke, circulatory obstruction, or serious nerve or back issues. Instability can lead to falls and potential injuries to bones or other organs. Find a ride to an urgent medical care facility. If it happens more than once, it is not an anomaly. Go see a doctor.
  • Joint Pain – active people – or people who were active in their youth – may have ligament and tendon damage that does not become apparent for years. A joint, like your hip or shoulder, can gradually wear away without any outward signs until one day – maybe slowly or suddenly – you are no longer able to participate in normal, everyday activities. This can include reaching, standing, or walking. An x-ray or MRI can get help sort out the cause. And remember, Metro Urgent Care has x-ray machines in all our locations.
  • Severe Cough, Shortness of Breath, and Fever – the combination of these three “red flags” mean you need to be three times more vigilant. They are prime indicators of respiratory problems like flu, pneumonia, a resurging tuberculosis, or coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever or coxie). Any of these issues are urgent medical problems and require immediate attention. Valley Fever and pneumonia can sometimes occur at the same time, and are almost impossible to diagnose and treat on your own. Catching any respiratory disease early makes it easier to treat and allows you to recover faster.

Don’t wait for a red flag. If a yellow flag is fluttering, visit any of the Metro Urgent Care locations. Our dedicated staff of doctors, nurses, and technicians encourage you to come in and see us. We would rather tell you that nothing is wrong than have you wait and suffer through a long recovery.

Did you know that your fingernails can also give hint or warning of an ailment?

  • Beau’s Lines are indentations that run across the nails most often caused by an injury, severe illness, or a zinc deficiency. But they are also warnings of uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and fever-causing illnesses like measles, mumps, pneumonia, and scarlet fever.
  • Nail Clubbing comes from the tips of the finger enlarging and forcing the nails to curve around the fingers. This can happen from low levels of blood oxygen, a sign of several types if lung diseases. It is also common with AIDS, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.
  • Onycholysis is when the fingernails become loose and separate from the nail bed, turning opaque with a white, yellow, or green tinge. While this might come from injury or infection, it might also be a sign of a reaction to a drug or consumer nail product, but it could also be a warning that thyroid disease and psoriasis are present.
  • Pitted Nails, looking like they have been attacked with an ice pick, are often associated with scaly patches on the skin. However, they may indicate tissue disorders such as alopecia areata, which can cause hair loss, and Reiter’s syndrome.
  • Spoon Nails, where the nails curve inward sometimes enough to hold a drop of liquid, are caused by iron deficiency anemia or hemochromatosis, a liver issue in which your body absorbs too much iron from food. Sometimes spoon nails indicate heart disease or hypothyroidism.
  • Terry’s Nails are often associated with aging, but they can also indicate liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or diabetes.

Yellow Nail Syndrome happens when nails thicken and new growth slows, resulting the nails turning a yellowish color and, occasionally, nails may lack a cuticle and detach from the nail bed. If this happens, get into a doctor. It is a sign of respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis or abnormal swelling of the hands (lymphedema).

Metro Urgent Care is part of a network of urgent care facilities located throughout the southwest. You can use the interactive map to find one near you or call (303) 555-5555 or even email [email protected] for more information. And never hesitate to just stop – we can are here for urgent care needs, primary care physicians, physicals, and to help with long-term health care strategies.

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