The University Hospital of Northern B.C. is currently experiencing higher-than-normal volumes of patients and residents are being asked to consider other options before heading to the emergency department.
"These periods occur at various times of the year, including peak season for circulation of viruses such as the return to school, and influenza season," Northern Health said in a statement issued Friday.
"Increased demand for services, including patients who are elderly or requiring care for chronic conditions, can also contribute to high patient volumes."
The agency offered the following advice to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital:
- Patients who aren't sure whether their condition would warrant an emergency room visit can call HealthLink BC at 811. For deaf and hearing-impaired assistance (TTY), call 711.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911.
- For non-emergency health information nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists go to www.HealthLinkBC.ca.
- For non-urgent care, use community health services including your family practitioner or walk-in clinics, where available.
- If you have a cold, call HealthLinkBC at 811 for advice, or ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.
- Remember, flu season is approaching; check immunizebc.ca for clinic dates.
"If at any time you believe you require urgent medical attention, do not hesitate to go to the emergency department, or call 911 for transportation," Northern Health added.