Island Health asks people to avoid unnecessary emergency department visits

Island Health is asking residents to avoid unnecessary emergency department visits this long weekend. Pictured is Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville.|| File photo
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Island Health is asking people to do their part to ensure hospital emergency departments can continue help patients in need of immediate medical assistance.

The health region said it continues to see increased patient volumes due to the record-breaking heat wave as Canada Day approaches — typically one of the busiest days for emergency room visits. 

“When people use our emergency departments wisely it goes a long way in helping dedicated emergency room physicians, nurses and clinical staff provide timely, quality care to patients who truly need emergency care,” said Dr. Ben Williams, vice-president, medicine, quality and chief medical executive at Island Health. 

“Your support is more important now than ever as these care teams work through an unprecedented heat wave on the heels of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Island Health recommends following some simple steps to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital emergency room:

Book an appointment with your family doctor or visit a walk-in clinic or urgent primary care centre;

Take precautions to avoid heat-related illness— drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and drink before you feel thirsty;

Wear sunscreen, a hat and loose fitting clothing;

Avoid liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar on hot days;

Seek cooler, breezier areas when outdoors;

Take it slow with outdoor activities, especially during peak hours (10 a.m.–4 p.m.)

Wash your hands frequently to avoid getting sick and spreading germs;

See your doctor before the long weekend 

Check the weekend and holiday hours of your local pharmacy/drug store and ensure your prescriptions are up to date;

Make sure you have basic pharmaceuticals on hand to control adult and children’s fever and pain;

Become familiar with walk-in clinic locations in your area and their hours of operation;

Wear a seatbelt when operating or riding in a motor vehicle;

Don’t drink and drive; 

Wear the right footwear to avoid falling or slipping.

Do not hesitate to go to the emergency department or call 911 if there is an emergency. Call HealthLink BC at 811 24 hours a day to speak to a nurse if unsure about whether a trip to the hospital is needed.

Oceanside News Parksville Qualicum Beach
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