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Avoid holiday wait times: not every illness requires ER visit

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Summary

Knowing when and when not to bring your kid to the ER can help you avoid long wait times

BC Childrens Hospital says it's usually best to not bring them in if they have the flu or a cold

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The holidays are supposed to be a happy time for celebration, but sometimes illness can overcome the holiday spirit.

The BC Children’s hospital sees an average of 150-165 patients a day, and even as high as 200. But not every illness requires a visit to the emergency room. The most common visits are for colds and viruses.

Christy Hay with the BC Children’s Hospital says the ER sees a spike in the number of patients through its doors during the holidays, even though some patients don’t need to be there.

She says things like a cold or flu are best dealt with at home with rest and hydration or by a family doctor.

“We encourage people to definitely use their family provider,” she says. “Other options are your local walk-in clinic, or dialing 811 for Health Link BC.”

As the flu and colds rear their heads this season, she also recommends making sure to prevent sickness with proper hand hygeine.

But there are some times parents should get to the hospital.

“If they’re breathing is very laboured, if they’re making a very squeaky sound with their breathing, that’s definitely a reason to seek emergency care,” she says. “Also for infants that are under three months of age, if they have a fever.”

If they are at risk of hurting themselves or others, they should also seek immediate care.