B.C. Children’s Hospital wants your little loved ones to stay out of the waiting room and get promptly treated this holiday season.
The Vancouver hospital is reminding parents that they can avoid long and unnecessary waits at its emergency department over the holidays by choosing from several other options to treat children with non-emergent illnesses and injuries.
Dr. Benetta Chin, an emergency physician at B.C. Children’s Hospital, said doctors and nurses know that the holidays are a stressful time to be caring for a sick child, with many clinics and doctors’ offices closed and emergency rooms so busy.
“Of course, if you come, we are happy to see you and will give you the best care possible,” Chin said.
“But we also feel frustrated for families when we see that they’ve been waiting six hours for a sore throat or even earache that could be dealt with at a walk-in setting or even at the urgent and primary care centre.”
Chin said that while many illnesses and injuries can be treated at a family doctor’s office or walk-in clinic, families are also encouraged to bring sick children to new urgent and primary care centres open in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Ridge Meadows and elsewhere across B.C.
If a child isn’t seriously ill, parents can phone HealthLinkBC at 811, where they can speak with a nurse for health advice any time of day or night, free of charge.
But the hospital says you should take your child to the emergency department if they have:
• A persistent high fever for more than four days
• Excessive coughing, especially with a fever
• An injured limb that looks swollen or crooked
• Not urinated within 12 hours and have stopped drinking fluids
• Blue lips and skin that appears pale
• Trouble breathing, especially with rapid or laboured breathing patterns
• Excessive vomiting, particularly if it is bright green or there is blood in the vomit
• Ingested a toxic chemical, including a suspected drug or alcohol overdose
Watch out for head injuries and bring your child to emergency if they have:
• Fallen more than five feet or 1.5 metres
• Started vomiting after a head injury
• A visible bump after a head injury and the child is less than three months old
• Lost consciousness
Mental health emergency:
• If your child is thinking about or trying to end their life, get urgent help by calling 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE.