Seeking appropriate medical care for shortness of breath
Shortness of breath sometimes referred to as dyspnea, is unsettling at best. Your chest may feel tight, you have difficulty breathing, and you may feel as though you are suffocating.
It’s normal to be short of breath after strenuous exercise, exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures, or higher altitudes. But if you are short of breath regularly, you need to seek appropriate medical care.
What shortness of breath could mean
There are many medical reasons why someone may be short of breath – some acute and some chronic – that could be an indicator of the following conditions:
- A severe allergic reaction
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- The build-up of excess fluid around the heart
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Pneumonia and other pulmonary infections including flu, the common cold, and streptococcus
- Collapsed lung
- Sudden loss of blood
- Pulmonary embolism
- Upper airway construction
- Lung issues including croup in children, and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure of the lungs), and pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs)
- Heart issues, including heart attacks, heart arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart).
Someone may also have shortness of breath if they have anemia, anxiety disorders, broken ribs, or are experiencing a choking episode.
When to see a doctor for shortness of breath
If you are experiencing the following symptoms along with shortness of breath, it’s best to seek medical guidance as soon as possible:
- Fever, chills, and cough
- Swelling in the feet and ankles
- A change in the ability to breathe comfortably
- Lessened amount of activity due to shortness of breath
Our experts at Community First ER will see you 24 hours a day/seven days a week, 356 days a year if you are worried about your shortness of breath symptoms. No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are welcome. If you are concerned about yourself, an elderly parent, or a child, please don’t hesitate to visit us.
COVID-19 and shortness of breath
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention being short of breath and tightening in the chest is a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. When accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you could have coronavirus:
- Fever or chills
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Community First ER is now treating COVID patients who are experiencing symptoms. We also are offering COVID-19 polymerase chain (PCR) testing. After we collect a sample of fluid or mucus from your nose, we can test the sample using the BioFire® Respiratory 2.1 (RP2.1) Panel to obtain results quickly in comparison to other testing methods.
Suppose your shortness of breath is due to a coronavirus diagnosis. In that case, you must quarantine and notify any individuals you’ve come in contact with, so they can isolate and also receive a test.
We are here for you
If you are worried about your shortness of breath symptoms, we encourage you to seek medical care as soon as possible. Community First ER is here for you and will provide you peace of mind, determining the root cause of your shortness of breath.
What to Expect
Upon arrival to our concierge service ER, our experts will discuss your symptoms when they started and run a series of tests to determine what may be causing your shortness of breath. From there, we will determine the best course of treatment and, if necessary, transport you or your loved one to a nearby hospital using ambulance or helipad services if necessary.
You may have heightened anxiety about seeking medical care during the pandemic. This is understandable. When the coronavirus crisis began, hospitals and emergency rooms immediately learned what they needed to do to protect themselves and their patients and keep their facilities clean.
Our convenient, state-of-the-art ER is designed to deliver the most effective, efficient emergency care, no matter the circumstances. We maintain strict infection prevention measures and precautions, going above and beyond what is recommended by health officials. You can rest assured knowing that we have implemented the following protocols and safety measures:
- Masking: All team members must wear masks, and anyone entering our facility (patient, caregiver, etc.) must be wearing one to enter. If someone isn’t wearing a mask, we will furnish one for them.
- Isolation: We limit patient visitors, minimize touchpoints, and have a seamless flow through our facility.
- Screening: We are conducting thorough screenings on anyone who enters our doors.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting: Waiting areas, restrooms, exam rooms, and other areas are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
You can be confident in your decision to seek care for you, your child, or elderly parents at our facility.
Our commitment to you
At Community First ER, we are committed to providing you the best possible care now and always. We have both adult and pediatric emergency care available. We have a team of medical and surgical specialists that we consult with to help manage our patients and their medical emergencies. We form relationships with local doctors to ensure that our patients have access to the best specialists for their individual needs.
About Community First Emergency Room
Emergency health care, especially in the time of a pandemic, is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first.
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Photo edit based on (Photo Vadimgozhda/Dreamstime.com)