PEORIA, Ill. — OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center is recommending alternatives to visiting the hospital to ease wait times as cold and flu season continues to strike.
OSF HealthCare said there is an increased volume of patients in the emergency rooms, and 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 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,” director of Emergency Services Deb Trau said. “Especially patients with chronic diseases and those at a higher risk such as children, the elderly, and those who are vulnerable. 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 the following 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
OSF HealthCare also said it is not too late to receive a flu shot this season. According to the CDC, everyone six months and older be vaccinated. It takes approximately two weeks for the flu shot to become fully effective.