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When should you head to the ER?

"Whether it’s the holiday baked goods or ’tis the season of nasty winter weather, a trip to the emergency may seem like the only option when you’re sick.

Hospital wait times often increase significantly at the end of December and early January.

In October this year, patients waited an average 1.6 hours in Ontario emergency rooms before being seen by a doctor.

“We see probably a 30 to 40 percent bump over what we would see routinely even in the winter time,” Dr. Jason Fischer, the head of Paediatric Emergency Medicine at SickKids said. “So we are seeing lots of kids.”

SickKids says more than two out of three medical concerns could be addressed somewhere other than emergency — like at an urgent care clinic or family doctor."

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