Cold wintry weather is long gone. The warm spring rains have turned the grass green, and the sky is blue. When summertime comes we’re ready to break out the grill, launch the boat, put on a swimsuit and hit the road!

But the summer season is also trauma season for the medical professionals staffing hospital emergency departments. By taking a few simple precautions, your summer can be full of fun and you can bypass the emergency room.

Here are some rules of thumb indicating when you should drop what you’re doing and head right for the ER:


  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Severe cut or laceration
  • Fainting or head injury with loss of consciousness or disorientation
  • Loss or change in vision
  • A major fracture that breaks the skin
  • Serious burn
  • A sudden change in mental status
  • Sudden shortness of breath/difficulty breathing


  • Persistent chest pain
  • Signs of Stroke: symptoms include slurred speech, facial weakness, facial droop

(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Spring/Summer 2018 issue. An online version of the entire publication can be found at