Do You Know When To Call 911 – and When You Shouldn’t?

When it comes to dialing 911, the general rule is: Dial any time there’s a threat to your life or property. In some cases, however, it’s not often as clear if it’s worth picking up the phone and calling for emergency assistance.

PCCSF’s Dr. Gerald Lavandosky spoke with Reader’s Digest on the “8 Times You Should Call 911 – and 7 Times You Shouldn’t.”

Call: You or someone else is experiencing a severe allergic reaction

If anyone begins showing signs of a severe allergic reaction—increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, swelling tongue—call 911. Severe allergic reactions can lead to death quickly—in under an hour—so you may not have enough time to get to the emergency department. Emergency responders can give immediate treatment with epinephrine.

“Parents and caregivers are not trained medical professionals, so making a medical decision as to whether an allergic reaction is 911-worthy can be challenging,” says Gerald Lavandosky, MD a pediatric critical care doctor at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida. “Factors that need to be considered when calling 911 include distance to the nearest emergency department, traffic, weather conditions, and transportation capabilities of the family.” Dr. Lavandosky says mild allergic reactions can be brought to a doctor’s office or emergency department by a family member, but when respiratory symptoms, swelling of the mouth, drooling, or difficulty breathing show up, it’s time to call 911.

To read the full story, visit Reader’s Digest.

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