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Have a safe and healthy holiday


Medical emergencies

If you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, breathing difficulties, severe abdominal or chest pain, or a major accident, call 9-1-1 or go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Urgent care

If you have a health concern that is not an emergency and your doctor is unavailable, you can go to a walk-in clinic or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. Emergency departments are open throughout the holidays for people who require urgent and emergency health care. Call 8-1-1 for assistance finding a walk-in clinic near you that is open.

If you live in Vancouver and are looking for an alternative to a hospital Emergency Department, the Urgent Care Centre at UBC Hospital is also open throughout the holidays. The centre is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and is staffed with emergency-trained doctors and nurses to handle minor medical emergencies that don’t require admission to hospital, such as broken bones, fevers, minor burns and eye problems.

Not sure if you need to visit an Emergency Department? Call 8-1-1 to access the HealthLink BC. This free, 24-hour non-emergency telephone service is staffed by trained registered nurses, pharmacists and dieticians who can help answer your healthcare-related questions. You can also find the publicly funded health services and resources you need, closest to where you live. HealthLink BC is also available online.

Holiday Hours for Community Health Centres

Tips to avoid food-borne illnesses:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before and after handling food.
  • Store food at the correct temperature (equal to or less than 4-degrees Celsius or 40-degrees Fahrenheit) and check that it is cooked properly before eating.
  • Ensure your cooking utensils and food preparation surfaces are cleaned and sanitized after use; consider using a solution of one capful of chlorine bleach in a sink full of warm water.
  • Thoroughly wash and sanitize containers and utensils that have been in contact with raw foods before you reuse them. This is especially important after working with raw meat and poultry. Thaw meat and poultry in the fridge.

Tips for staying out of the Emergency Department:

  • Wash your hands to avoid picking up colds, stomach viruses and other infections.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Have the right gear for your winter activity. This means a helmet when skiing or snowboarding, appropriate cold-weather clothing (including the right shoes or boots for walking in snow or ice) and snow tires on your car.
  • Drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.
  • Holidays can be a trying time of year. If you are feeling blue or overly stressed, be sure to speak to someone. Take some time for yourself.
  • Shovel snow wisely: dress warmly, take breaks and don’t over do it. Be honest about how much you can do yourself and ask for help for the rest.
  • Mind slippery sections and black ice when walking.
  • Keep your prescription medication filled.
  • Speak to a pharmacist or health care provider before taking over the counter cold medications.
  • Make sure your fire detectors and carbon monoxide monitors work, especially with all the extra lights, Christmas trees and candles at this time of year.

SOURCE: Have a safe and healthy holiday ( )
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