Brampton - Peel Public Health, Credit Valley Hospital, Trillium Health Centre and William Osler Health Centre report a dramatic surge in emergency department visits by people experiencing influenza-like symptoms but who could best manage their symptoms at home, with their family physician or at a walk-in clinic.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa reminds Peel residents that hospital emergency departments are very crowded and should be used for emergency situations only.
Liz Buller, Senior Vice President, Patient Services for William Osler Health System said, "Brampton Civic is home to one of the busiest emergency departments in the country and our volumes have been climbing steadily since the arrival of this year's flu season. While up to 60 percent of those who are now coming to emergency are presenting with flu-like symptoms, most are considered mild cases and are best treated in the community by a family doctor, walk-in clinic or with the advice of TeleHealth Ontario."
Patti Cochrane, Vice President, Patient Services and Quality at Trillium Health Centre agreed. "Trillium Health Centre encourages everyone to get their flu shots as soon as possible and to wash their hands frequently. Despite the substantial increase in flu-related patient volumes, we are seeing very few who need to be admitted. We must maintain the community's access to emergency and urgent care for people with other injuries or illnesses, so please try to see your family doctor or attend a walk-in clinic first."
If you are ill, health officials recommend that you:
- Consult the provincial self-assessment tool available at http://www.peelregion.ca/.
- Should your symptoms worsen significantly, contact your health-care provider.
- If you are experiencing extreme shortness of breath, go to the emergency department of your hospital.
The self-assessment tool, developed by the Government of Ontario, gives those experiencing flu-like symptoms. Recommendations on specific actions they can take to manage their illness;
- Stay at home for seven days after onset of symptoms in adults, and 10 days after onset of symptoms in children.
- Seek the advice of your health-care provider or contact TeleHealth Ontario for advice (1-866-797-0000).
Seek emergency care if the sick person:
- Has difficulty breathing or has chest pain
- Has purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Is vomiting and is unable to keep liquids down
- Has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination or, in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
- Has a seizure
- Is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
Peel Public Health is working closely with the hospitals and all health-care providers in the Region to provide the best possible information and care to its residents.
We also want to remind our residents that the H1N1 vaccine is not available at Emergency Departments.
Credit Valley Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Matt Gysler said that "It's important that the public understand that the hospital is not the place to receive their H1N1 vaccine; rather we encourage everyone to get the vaccine at one of the public clinics being offered by the Region beginning next week or through their health-care provider."
Please visit the Peel Region web site http://www.peelregion.ca/ for an H1N1 Clinic in your area or telephone 905-799-7700. Caledon residents call toll free at 905-584-2216."