Concord, NH – New Hampshire hospitals are urging the public to stay vigilant about respiratory illnesses as the state experiences significant hospital bed shortages and to know where to get the care they need so that the health care system can better meet their needs.
Statewide, hospitals are currently experiencing high numbers of patients that need intensive and higher levels of care. Wait times and patient volumes are increasing, and emergency department capacity in some areas is being challenged. New Hampshire hospitals also continue to experience significant staff shortages which further complicates surges in hospital visits due to limited bed availability.
New Hampshire residents should consider the most appropriate care setting for their health care needs, whether it’s calling your primary care provider first, seeking out urgent or walk-in centers, or ultimately going to hospital emergency department if an emergency.
· Back pain and strain
· Cold, flu and sinus
· Insect bites
· Mild allergic reaction
· Constipation and diarrhea
· Cuts, burns and wounds
· Broken bones and sprains
· Severe burns
· Fainting or collapse
· Difficulty breathing
· Allergic reaction
· Major trauma and injury
· Heart attack and chest pain
· Uncontrollable bleeding
“Hospitals exist to serve New Hampshire residents when they need it most, particularly in emergencies,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “Our capacity to provide emergency care must be protected for those who need us most.”
Holidays are a wonderful time to be with friends and families, but it’s important to remember to take simple steps to help keep everyone healthy before and after:
- Make an appointment to get a flu shot as soon as possible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that “everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season.” Find out where you can get a flu shot in your community here.
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you have not done so already, this includes getting an updated Omicron booster if you have completed a primary series and are at least 5 years of age or older.
- Practice good infection prevention behaviors, including staying home when sick to limit the risk of spreading illness, covering coughs and sneezes, frequently washing hands, and routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces (including shared toys).
- Keep your baby or young child away from anyone (including family members) with cold symptoms.
- Contact your health care provider if you test positive for COVID or the flu as soon as possible to see if an anti-viral medication might be important, based on your risk factors.
- Contact your health care provider if you develop more severe symptoms, or symptoms persist or get worse.
- Be patient if seeking care through a hospital emergency department – wait times have been elevated and hospitals are doing their best to meet the needs of every patient.
This holiday season, New Hampshire hospitals want to ensure that as residents head into the new year, they and their loved ones are as healthy as possible.