Saint Vincent Hospital ER Chief Points Out Summer Risks Requiring Emergency Care

Jun 13, 2024

As we begin to enjoy longer days and warmer weather that allows for additional outdoor, sports or summer activities, we need to caution ourselves and loved ones that this weather could potentially bring children, families or elders to the Emergency Room (ER) because of unforeseen accidents.

“We always want to put safety first during the summer months, regardless of age,” says Dr. Adam Darnobid, Chief of Emergency Medicine. “Our community Emergency Department is ready to help you or loved ones with our emergency care. Although some health issues can be addressed with first aid, others, more serious issues, need emergency care.”

Heat Exhaustion/Stroke

Heat exhaustion does not usually need emergency medical help if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency.

Heatstroke’s primary symptoms include a change in mental status, such as confusion, delirium, combativeness, seizures, loss of consciousness and a core body temperature above 104 degrees F. Heat exhaustion can present with dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, unsteady gait, muscle cramps and fatigue.

Head Injuries

Whether bike riding accidents, swimming or otherwise, head injuries are always serious and you need to visit the ER if you suffer a serious blow to the head. You may be suffering from a concussion.

Concussion signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury, and some may not show up for hours or days. Continue to check for signs of concussion right after the injury and a few days following it. Observed signs include not being able to recall events prior to, or after a hit or fall. Other symptoms include appearing dazed or stunned, forgetting instruction or confused about an assignment, moves clumsily, answers questions slowly, loses consciousness (even briefly) or shows mood, behavior or personality changes. Reported symptoms can include headache, nausea or vomiting, balance problems, bothered by light or noise, feeling sluggish, confusion or just not “feeling right.”

Broken Bones

If you suffer a broken bone, you need to go to the emergency room as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of a broken bone include a visibly out-of-place or misshapen limb or joint, along with swelling, bruising, or bleeding and intense pain.

To prevent broken bones, stretch before outdoor sports activities, wear proper gear from pads to helmets to appropriate shoes. Start new activities slowly to help adjust the body.


Regardless of whether a burn is caused by sun exposure, hot liquid or an accident around a campfire, second- and third-degree burns need to be checked out at an ER. Burn symptoms vary depending on how deep the skin damage is and can take a day or two for the signs and symptoms of a severe burn to develop.

1st-degree: This minor burn affects only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and may cause redness and pain.

2nd-degree: This burn affects both the epidermis and the second layer of skin (dermis) and can cause swelling with red, white or splotchy skin. Blisters may develop and pain can be severe, which may cause scarring.

3rd-degree: This burn reaches to the fat layer beneath the skin. Burned areas may be black, brown or white with a leathery appearance. Third-degree burns can destroy nerves, causing numbness.


While not all stings require emergency care, you need to go to the ER if you are having a severe reaction or known to be allergic to bees or wasps.

Severe allergic reaction symptoms to watch for include skin irritation such as hives, itching or pale skin, trouble breathing or swallowing, severe swelling of limbs, swelling of throat or tongue, loss of consciousness, vomiting/diarrhea, nausea and racing heartbeat.

Saint Vincent Hospital’s Emergency Department is conveniently located in downtown Worcester at 123 Summer Street, Worcester, MA.

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