FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Nearly 600 children were seen in Cook Children's Emergency Department on Monday. That's nearly double the average number of patients seen in a typical day.
Seasonal illnesses are in full swing and the medical center is under a 'Facility Alert,' according to a recent report.
On Monday, the hospital saw 567 patients in the emergency room, which is equivalent to a patient checking in every 2.5 minutes for 24 hours straight.
The hospital's report said medical facilities across Dallas/Fort Worth and the state are experiencing similar situations right now due to a variety of bugs making their way around the region. Respiratory illnesses such as RSV and croup are being seen in high numbers. Doctors are also seeing the first wave of flu cases, along with a range of gastrointestinal illnesses.
That means if you're planning to come to Cook Children's Emergency Department with non-emergent issues, expect to wait.
"If your child is experiencing cough, fever or vomiting, you should contact your primary care physician first to make sure the ED is the right place to take your child," said Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of Cook Children's Emergency Department. "Wait times are going to be much higher than normal, and patients may have to wait several hours to be seen if they are not suffering from a life-threatening emergency."
If you are going to the emergency department, the hospital asks you limit the number of people you bring with you.
"The waiting room at the emergency department is so full that Cook Children's staff have brought out folding chairs to accommodate as many people as possible," said Dr. Warmink. "We are working as quickly as we can to get patients into rooms, while still providing quality medical care to each child. We know it's frustrating for families to be stuck in the waiting room, but we ask for patience."
Additionally, anyone who comes into the emergency department is at a high risk of exposure to and contracting an illness. The following groups of people have the highest risk of infection:
- Pregnant women
- Infants and young children particularly under age 2
- People of any age with certain chronic health conditions (including asthma or lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or some neurological conditions).
- People with severely compromised immune systems.
What else should parents know?
The best way to keep yourself and your child out of the emergency room with seasonal illnesses is to wash your hands frequently. This means before, during and after preparing food, before eating, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose or sneezing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds, or hum the 'Happy Birthday' song from beginning to end twice. This will greatly reduce your chance of getting sick and spreading bugs to others.
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