When should someone go to the emergency room instead of urgent care?

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Anyone with a life-threatening condition should go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. Urgent care facilities are not intended for anyone who needs medical attention as soon as possible. In addition, emergency rooms are staffed 24 hours per day, whereas urgent care facilities may not be open at certain times. A few examples of conditions which require emergency treatment include:
  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke - Heart attacks usually begin with chest or arm pain, especially around the left shoulder, along with shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. Stroke symptoms include sudden numbness in the face, arms or legs, sudden confusion, trouble seeing or walking, and severe, unexplained headache.
  • Injuries with severe bleeding
  • Advanced stages of labor
  • Ingesting a toxic or severe allergy-inducing substance
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