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CHU Sainte-Justine
Wednesday, February 10 2016
Press release

Overcrowding in pediatric emergency departments

Montreal, February 10, 2016 - CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children’s Hospital are currently dealing with very high volumes in their emergency rooms. The majority of children who are coming to the emergency department are suffering from problems related to the flu, gastroenteritis and fever. In addition to spreading the virus, increased visits put a strain on emergency departments which leads to longer waiting times, especially for non-urgent cases.

Care at home: Often the best solution

It's important that parents prepare for the flu season by learning how to treat minor injuries and ailments at home, and knowing when to see a doctor or go to the emergency department. Children requiring urgent care are given priority. “Any patient who comes to the emergency department with a cold, flu or gastro can expect to wait several hours before seeing a doctor. Whether you're a child or an adult, mild flu symptoms, gastroenteritis and fever that generally last 3 to 5 days can be treated at home," says Dr. Antonio D'Angelo, chief medical officer of CHU Sainte-Justine's Emergency Department. "Emergency services are reserved for those whose conditions require urgent care. If you have the flu, drink a lot of water and rest. You can also ask your pharmacist for advice on how to relieve your symptoms," he adds.

"Preventive measures such as vaccination and using good respiratory hygiene are two of the most effective ways to reduce the number of unexpected visits to emergency and avoid long wait times during the busiest time of year," says Dr. Harley Eisman, director of the emergency department at the Montreal Children's Hospital. "Avoid contributing to the spread of influenza and gastroenteritis by washing your hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, staying home when you're sick and avoiding contact with vulnerable people."

Alternatives to the ER

If you're sick or worried about the health of a loved one, first call Info-Santé at 811. Info-Santé nurses are available 24/7 to advise you and tell you when and who to consult. You can also contact your family doctor, one of the five Centres intégrés universitaires de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) in Montréal, or a network clinic to see a doctor without an appointment. Pharmacists are also excellent resources for information.

To check the opening hours for network clinics and CIUSS in Montréal, go to the portal at www.santemontreal.qc.ca/hiverensante. The CHU Sainte-Justine and Montreal Children's Hospital's websites also offer advice and information to help parents better assess the health of their loved ones. See chusj.org or thechildren.com/

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CHU Sainte-Justine

Mélanie Dallaire
Conseillère principale, relations médias
CHU Sainte-Justine

For information

Stephanie Tsirgiotis
Conseillère aux communications
Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants, CUSM

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Updated on 2/10/2016
Created on 2/10/2016
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