People waiting at the emergency area of the hospital

Ahead of the Family Day long weekend and with flu circulating in the community, Fraser Health is reminding people that going to the hospital for minor concerns can present its own risks.

SURREY – Ahead of the Family Day long weekend and with flu circulating in the community, Fraser Health is reminding people that going to the hospital for minor concerns can present its own risks, and to take precautions to maintain good health and prevent a trip to the Emergency Department.

“While a person should visit the Emergency Department immediately for critical or life-threatening conditions, most non-emergency illnesses can be addressed more quickly by your family physician or walk-in clinic,” said Fraser Health Emergency network regional medical director, Dr. Neil Barclay. “Since this is the time of year when illnesses such as the flu are still circulating, this is a good opportunity to remind people, particularly seniors and young children, to get a flu shot if they have not done so already."

While people might think the hospital is the right place for care, hospitals can create new issues for people who are already ill, such as the risks of falls for the elderly and infection risks for the general public. It’s wise to consider the nature of your illness before making a decision on where to seek help. Medical clinics are more suitable to assist patients with issues like high blood pressure, bad coughs, prescription refills and pregnancy tests, among many others.

If you have a health concern that needs to be addressed: 

  • For immediate care in the event of critical or life-threatening conditions such as chest pain, shortness of breath, serious bleeding or broken bones, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.
  • For non-emergency health concerns, call your family doctor first. Your family doctor knows you and your medical history. In some cases, same-day urgent appointments may be available.
  • If your family doctor is not available, check for a walk-in clinic, wait times and hours.
  • Flu shots are recommended for everyone and are available at your doctor’s office, walk-in clinics and pharmacies. To find a flu clinic near you, click here.
  • For trusted health advice, call 8-1-1 (HealthLinkBC), available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Speak with a representative who will help you find health information and services or connect you with a nurse for health advice, a dietitian for nutrition information or a pharmacist (weeknights 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) for medication advice.
  • For an urgent medication refill speak with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist may be able to provide an emergency refill of your prescription, including medications for chronic conditions. Contact your pharmacist for minor issues that might be managed with over-the-counter medications.
  • For a mental health concern:
    • In Fraser Health:
      • Call the Fraser Health Crisis Line, 24/7 at 1-877-820-7444. 
      • For a child/youth mental health crisis call Fraser Health’s START program at 1-844-782-7811. For concerns after hours, you can call the 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line.
  • For a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911.
  • For an urgent dental concern such as a traumatic injury to the mouth or jaw, severe pain that can’t be controlled with over-the-counter meds, swelling or ongoing bleeding visit and look for Dental Emergency. All dentists in B.C. are required to provide patients with emergency dental care when the need arises, providing the care themselves or by making arrangements with another dentist.

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