Respiratory Infections Continue to Drive ER Visits
It is a truism in ENT that respiratory infections seem to consistently drive people to seek urgent or emergency care. In some cases this urgency is warranted, especially if a patient cannot breathe. But the vast majority of such cases fall under the rubric of common ailments such as cold, flu and allergies.
This recent piece uncovered a few trends in what brings people to the Emergency Room in different regions of the country. The Midwest took the sinus symptom crown this time around, although the author notes that it was close throughout:
[E]ach state has its unique boo-boos. As you can see from the map above, which I created from new data provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in the South, the most common complaint was a sprain or strain; for the West, it was abdominal pain; and for the Midwest, it was respiratory infections. (Not all states send their ER data to the AHRQ, so the agency lumps them together by region instead.)
For the most part, though, the regional variation means nothing—each region has the same top four complains, just in a different order.
Why do rhinitis, sinusitis, allergies and other respiratory complaints bring so many people to local hospitals? Some of it may be due to a widespread belief that these ailments require immediate medical intervention, even though most resolve on their own. Another reason could simply be the fact that these ailments are incredibly common, and therefore should be expected to dominate any survey of American care.
If you are suffering with a respiratory ailment and can wait more than a few minutes for expert attention, I urge you to contact my Los Angeles sinus care offices today.