Emergency rooms at Quebec hospitals overflowed this holiday season because the flu spread throughout the province.
The Canadian Public Health Agency reports a steady increase in influenza cases throughout the country and Quebec is no exception. Earlier this month, the agency described the flu as "spreading" in the province.
Occupancy rates at Quebec hospitals exceed 100 percent capacity in many cases, La Presse Canadienne has studied.
In Quebec City, Center hospitalier de l 'Université Laval (CHUL) was at 109 percent and the nearest Hôpital de l' Enfant-Jésus was at 115 percent.
At Thetford Mines, the hospital is 160 percent. On the South Coast of Montreal, Anna-Laberge in Châteauguay has almost doubled its maximum capacity at 187 percent.
The Hôpital du Suroit, located in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, has reached 145 percent.
While in Longueuil, Pierre-Boucher was up to 120 percent.
Montreal hospital filled
Montreal hospitals have also seen waves of patients.
"Our hospital is crowded," said Dr. Catherine Farrell, pediatric intensive care specialist in Sainte-Justine. "Our emergency room is really overloaded."
Rates at Hôpital Fleury are at 139 percent.
Maisonneuve-Rosemont reports 102 percent.
"Influenza and gastroenteritis are two very contagious infections that are more common during the winter," the hospital website said. "They can be avoided by simple hygiene steps, such as hand washing."
Most cases of flu can be treated at home
According to the Santé Montréal website, eating more, lacking sleep, hugging and shaking hands are common things done during the holidays, making the spread of viruses and infections more common.
However, it was mentioned, there was an alternative to hurry to the emergency room. The alternatives began with a call to Info-Santé (811) to get advice from a medical professional.
Most cases of flu can be treated at home. The Quebec Health Ministry recommends seeking medical help only if you experience difficulty breathing and fever that persists alongside other flu symptoms.
Last year around this time, the situation was similar to an emergency room in all provinces reported to be overcapacity due to flu.