GLENDALE, AZ - With cold and flu season right around the corner, Valley hospitals are already gearing up for an influx of patients.
But to help ease the rush, doctors are urging people to familiarize themselves with the right place to seek treatment before they get sick.
Rachel Thomas brought her son to the emergency room at the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale Monday morning.
Thomas admits she first scheduled an appointment with her son's pediatrician but then changed her mind and brought him to the ER after the symptoms seemed to get worse.
Thomas says it can sometimes be difficult deciding exactly where to go.
"I don't know if it's serious enough to wait it out or if I wait too long if it's going to get bad," said Thomas.
Dr. Mandeep Rai with Banner Thunderbird Medical Center says with the cold and flu season fast approaching, patients should know their options before they get sick.
"Only patients with high fever or chest pain, symptoms that suggest the flu are the ones who are advised to come to the ER," said Dr. Rai.
For patients with more mild symptoms, Dr. Rai suggests a couple of options:
1. Simply stay home and take over the counter medications.
2. Go to your general physician or local urgent care facility.
"So that the ERs remain free to deal with the really sick patients," said Dr. Rai.
In Cody's case, his mom made the right decision.
Which, sometimes, Thomas says, just comes down to listening to your gut.
"Always trust your instincts," said Thomas. "If you think its bad enough to go to the hospital, don't hesitate. The worst they can do is give you treatment and send you on your way."
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