When to See a Doctor

Here are guidelines to follow to know when to see a doctor. We hope you find this information helpful.



See a doctor if…

Sinusitis Inflamed air chambers behind the cheeks, eyebrows and jaw Pain or pressure in the face; stuffy nose, fever, thick green or yellow nasal mucus, an ache in upper teeth
Puncture Wound Small, deep hole with little to heavy bleeding caused by nail, tack, pin, needle, tooth… Wound on head, chest, abdomen or over a joint; persistent bleeding; if the blood spurts or continues to flow after several minutes; puncture wound is a result of an animal (cats, dogs) or human bite; object that caused the wound had been exposed to the soil; wound is deep or dirty; large debris remains deep embedded in the wound; wound doesn’t heal or if you notice any redness, drainage, warmth or swelling
Laceration When one or more layers of skin are torn or scraped off Blood spurts or continues to flow after continuous pressure; debris remains embedded in the wound after cleaning; cut is deep, gapes, is very dirty or irregular, or can’t be held together with the band aid; located on an elbow, knee, finger or thumb joint, palm of the hand, face or other area on which you would like to minimize scars; causes severe pain; numbness; your last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago
Burns A lesion caused by fire, chemical, extreme heat, scalding water, or excessive rubbing Involves substantial portions of hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks or a major joint; larger than 2-3 inches in diameter; severe pain, swelling or blistering; difficulty breathing
Insect Bites Bumps caused by mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, bees, ants, yellow jackets and wasps A localized allergic reaction occurs when the area around the sting gets very swollen, red and warm; oozing, open sore or unusual swelling; wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, cramping, vomiting, chills, fever or muscle aches; sore throat or joint/muscle ache; you know you are allergic to a bee sting
Lyme Disease A kind of bacteria (germ) called a spirochete, which is carried by deer ticks and western black-legged ticks. These ticks can spread the disease to animals and humans through tick bites Small, red spots grow larger; you see a “bull’s eye” or ring appearance, but this is not always the case; experience fever, chills, headaches, stiff neck, fatigue, muscle aches and joint pain; painful, swollen joints, or one large joint such as knee; rash burns, hurts or itches and some people have many red spots; heartbeat feels irregular or slows
Sore Throat Pain in the throat, may be accompanied with fever for 48 hours History of fever and sore throat, chills, muscle ache, headache, nausea; children have abdominal pain and red spots on body; tonsils enlarged and lymph nodes on the neck are swollen
Knee Injury Pain or swelling in the knee joint Swelling after a fall, twisting or after the knee was hit by an object or person; tenderness; grinding; fever with swollen, red joints; cannot weight bear, see lyme disease
Complications from the flu/cold Symptoms caused by a prolonged cold, flu, such as dehydration, sinus infections, fever for more than 72 hours Over 102 temperature, green mucus, dehydration, dizzy spells, cough, shortness of breath, sinus symptoms
Urinary Tract Infections Infections in the urinary tract Symptoms do not go away after over the counter medication is used; fever; blood in urine, back pain, chills

If you are experiencing a medical emergency (such as severe chest pain or life-threatening injury), please call 911 immediately. We hope these guidelines helped you figure out when to see a doctor.