FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno health officials are sounding the alarm as emergency rooms in the Valley reach their breaking point.
"We want to save all our emergency capacity for our trauma patients," Fresno County Department of Public Health Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra told Action News. "For all of our injuries that are unpredictable, for our heart attacks and abdominal emergencies."
With cold, flu, and RSV season in full swing, the FCDPH wants you to think twice about going to the hospital or ER.
Vohra says most of what is going around are viral illnesses. And because they are viral, there is usually not much doctors can do.
Vohra says you are probably best taking a trip to the neighborhood pharmacy.
"If you do come down with a viral infection, then stay home and try to nurse it at home with fluids," Vohra said. "You can try some over-the-counter medications to help with fevers and pain. And then check in with a doctor or telemedicine service."
The message comes as Community Regional Medical Center officials say the hospital is experiencing "high patient volumes."
It is a familiar sight -- long waiting times, packed beds, and hallways were common during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, as many are gathering this holiday season, Vohra says they are sharing germs -- and healthcare providers from ER doctors to urgent care clinics are seeing an uptick.
While officials are working to ease the strain, Vohra says there are a few tell-tale signs that should have you on your way to the hospital.
"If you can't stay hydrated or walk to the restroom, that's probably the time to go in," Vohra said. "Short of being able to take care of yourself and just drink(ing) fluids, there's really not much more we offer for viral illnesses for most people."
Health officials say it is not too late to get your flu shot or COVID booster.
If you come down with an illness this holiday season, they say you can wear a mask and hold family gatherings outside if possible.