As might be expected during the holiday season, Quinte Health Care emergency rooms are busier these days.
Officials say hospitals in Belleville, Picton, Trenton are currently experiencing a 30 per cent increase in the number of patients using the ER.
There are also higher numbers of patients being admitted to the hospitals.
QHC Chief of Staff, Dr. Dick Zoutman is asking people with non-urgent illnesses to consider other options like a visit to your family doctor or a walk-in clinic before heading to the emergency room.
If you do go to the ER, doctors ask you to be patient and to remember that serious illnesses and injuries are treated first, which can add to some people’s wait time.
When to Visit the Emergency Room
Go to your nearest Emergency Room if you or a family member experience any of the following:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath when doing very little or resting
Severe stomach pain
Continuous vomiting or severe diarrhea with signs of dehydration such as dry tongue, dry mouth, decreased peeing (no urine for the past 6-8 hours), or very yellow/orange, dark urine
Stiff neck and sensitivity to light
Seizures or convulsions
Confusion or disorientation
Chest pain or tightness in the chest
A broken bone or a wound that may need stitches
Sudden, severe headaches, vision problems, sudden weakness, numbness and/or tingling sensations, trouble speaking, dizziness
Your infant, under three months of age, has a fever over 38.5C or 101F
Your child has a fever and it is difficult to wake her/him
Being Prepared for an Emergency Department Visit
1. Come to the Emergency Department only when necessary
· If you have a family physician, call him/her first to determine whether you can be seen in the physician’s office
If there is a walk-in clinic in the area, go there for your less urgent illness or injury
You can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak to a Registered Nurse
More information on health care options is available at: Ontario.ca/healthcareoptions
2. If you must come to the Emergency Department, come prepared
Bring reading material or other distractions to pass the time
Don’t bring more than one family member/support person with you unless necessary (it adds to the congestion in the waiting room)
Clean your hands often to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
3. Be patient
· The staff and physicians of the Emergency Department are working hard under often stressful conditions
· The most serious injuries and illnesses are always dealt with first, and staff cannot predict when a very serious case will come through the doors. Therefore, people who arrive after you may be seen first.