Children’s of Alabama seeing wait times upwards of 10 hours at ER

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 3:02 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Children’s of Alabama is reporting unprecedented wait times at its emergency room as a bad strain of the flu and RSV spreads through the community.

Dr. Alicia Webb said most children coming into the ER have symptoms of a viral infection such as COVID, the flu and RSV. That mixed with regularly seen emergencies is resulting in an influx of patients.

“Our hospital is very, very full as well as the emergency department,” said Webb. “We are activating extra staff, extra areas where we can see patients.”

Webb said if your child has mild symptoms like a sore throat, cough or fever, monitor the symptoms from home. If they get worse, then schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or go to urgent care.

“As long as your child is drinking well, as long as you are not worried that your child is having trouble breathing, really it can be managed supportively at home.”

If your child has underlying health issues or is under three months of age, then start by going to the ER.

“When children start having trouble breathing and can’t speak in full sentences and are breathing really fast and really hard or you’re concerned that they are not drinking well enough to stay well hydrated and may need IV fluids, those are times when a trip to the emergency department would be an appropriate place to go,” Webb said.

Webb also said the best way to protect your children is getting them vaccinated. Kids over the age of six months are eligible for their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot.

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