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This long weekend, stay safe and know your health care options

Posted May 19th, 2023

As the long weekend approaches and the weather gets warmer, there’s more opportunity for Niagarans to get out and enjoy themselves.

Niagara Health encourages all residents and visitors to the area to take care over the Victoria Day weekend and to know their options if they need healthcare.

Emergency Departments remain open and ready to care for those with life-threatening injuries and conditions. These include trouble breathing, bleeding that won’t stop, chest pain or pressure, broken bones, mental health issues, such as overdose and thoughts of harm to others or self-harm, and obstetrical emergencies.

Learn more about when to go to your nearest Emergency Department

“It is important to go to your nearest Emergency Department if you are in need of serious medical attention,” says Dr. Johan Viljoen, Niagara Health’s Executive Vice-President, Medical, and Chief of Staff. “If you are unable to get there yourself, call 9-1-1, especially for life-threatening and time critical emergencies.”

Emergency Department staff and physicians work hard to provide all patients with safe, quality care in a timely manner. However, wait times, like in all emergency departments in Ontario, may be long for those with less serious concerns. For more minor injuries and conditions, there are options available in the community, including treatment by your local pharmacist.

Pharmacists are able to prescribe treatment and medication for 13 common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, sprains, strains, urinary tract infections, and even severe heartburn.

Stopping by your local pharmacy for help with these conditions is quick and easy, with personal and confidential consultation often done in less than 30 minutes, Pharmacist Phil Hauser explains.

“One of the biggest comments we get is how this service saves so much time compared to going to an Emergency Department or walk-in clinic, especially over a long weekend when wait times can escalate,” says Hauser, who operates Hauser’s Pharmacy with five locations, including at the St. Catharines hospital. “There are hundreds of pharmacies across Niagara. There are so many benefits to having your pharmacist be your first point of contact for these minor ailments.”

Additionally, Health811 is a provincial service that enables patients to speak or chat online with a registered nurse, check their symptoms and find local healthcare resources in their community.

Visit Health811

Niagara Health System