No one wants to end up in the emergency room. But, sometimes, accidents happen.

These tips from our emergency room doctors can help you successfully navigate the ER with as little stress as possible.

Come prepared.

When you go to the ER, you'll be asked questions about your medical history and the medicines you are taking. This can be difficult when you're flustered or stressed, so come prepared. 

Our docs suggest keeping a list of any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications or supplements— including names, dosages and what you're taking them for— on your phone. Also try to include a list of any chronic conditions you have. 

ER doctors need to get the most accurate information as quickly as possible, so if there's a concise up-to-date list that they can look at quickly, it is extremely helpful.

Be honest.

Emergency room doctors have seen it all; so don't feel ashamed or worried about telling them something embarrassing. Answering all questions honestly can help ensure you get the best possible care in the ER. 

If you're successful in tricking your emergency room doctor or nurse, it will only harm you in the end. If you don't tell your doctor you smoke, he can't analyze the true risk of you having a heart attack. If you don't mention that you're supposed to be on diabetes medication, and for some reason your doctor can't figure out that you should be, they could miss something very important that could factor in to how you'll be evaluated and treated.

Be patient.

In the past, long wait times were one of the biggest complaints about hospital emergency departments. But they've changed considerably over the past 10 years. It used to be that you could plan on an 8-hour wait. These days, across the country, the standard is less than an hour, with a goal to have wait times significantly shorter than that. 

Still, you may have to wait, so try to be patient. People are usually seen in the order that they arrive, unless they are in a life-threatening situation, in which case they may be moved to the front of the line.

Trust the ER staff

There's no doubt that going to the emergency department can be stressful. But have faith in the people taking care of you.  

You can also take steps to learn about your local ER. Find out if it is accredited and if the ER doctors are board-certified in emergency medicine. 

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