Cold and flu season is underway, and with it an increased volume of patients in the emergency room at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center. The hospital recommends the following to ease wait times and get patients to the appropriate site for care:
- Calling your primary care doctor is a good first step if you feel ill.
- OSF HealthCare offers several options after regular office hours or if your regular doctor is unavailable. OSF OnCall is virtual urgent care that is available 24/7 from your computer or phone; OSF Urgo urgent care clinics are open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily and offer online scheduling; OSF PromptCare locations in the Peoria area are also open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and offer a ‘get in line’ option online.
- If you have a child under the age of 18, OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois now offers a 24/7 pediatric emergency room located next to the emergency room at OSF Saint Francis.
“If you feel you are having an emergency, we absolutely want you to come to the emergency room. Especially patients with chronic diseases and those at a higher risk such as children, the elderly, and those who are vulnerable,” says director of Emergency Services Deb Trau. “But if your symptoms are less severe like a cough, body aches and fever, we have several options for your care.”
In addition, Trau offers these suggestions to stop the spread of germs and help you stay healthy:
- If you feel sick or have a fever, stay home. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for aches, pains and fever.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow to avoid getting germs on your hands and spreading them to others.
If you haven’t received a flu shot this season, it’s not too late. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older be vaccinated. It takes approximately two weeks for the flu shot to become fully effective.