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PeaceHealth officials advise that flu patients seek best care option

People planning a trip to the emergency room should consider the potential benefits of visiting an urgent care center instead

VANCOUVER — PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is experiencing high volumes of patients seeking emergency care for influenza-like symptoms, resulting in increased E.R. wait times and reduced availability of inpatient hospital rooms.

People planning a trip to the emergency room should consider the potential benefits of visiting an urgent care center instead, where wait times can be shorter and costs may be lower. Urgent care centers are equipped to treat flu patients with the same level of care they would receive in an emergency room setting. PeaceHealth offers urgent care at 3400 Main Street in Vancouver weekdays 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sat.-Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

“The majority of people battling flu can treat themselves successfully at home, without seeking medical attention,” said PeaceHealth Southwest hospitalist Dr. Stephen Kormanyos. “Get plenty of rest, stay well hydrated, and give your body a chance to fight off the virus. People should seek medical attention if they develop breathing difficulty, a persistent high fever, or if they cannot keep fluids down.”

Although flu cases began spiking in Clark County in December, it is still not too late to get a flu shot. Flu season can continue well into spring, and a flu shot today can provide several months of protection. For added safety, people should wash their hands frequently, especially after coming into contact with high-touch objects such as doors handles, ATM machines, and gas pumps.

For more information about the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu

PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest.

For more information, go to www.peacehealth.org.

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