Montreal's two children's hospitals have been jammed with patients recently and are urging anyone with mild flu symptoms to stay home.

Both the Montreal Children's and Sainte-Justine report major increases in the number of patients visiting the ER over the past few weeks.

"Since about two weeks ago, we've seen an influx of patients and we were certainly busy last weekend," said Dr. Harley Eisman, director of pediatric emergency at the Montreal Children's.

Eisman offered up some tips for parents thinking about heading to the ER.

Fever not generally dangerous

Fever in itself is not dangerous, so the point is, they probably don't have to come to the emergency department. Most of what we're seeing are benign seasonal viruses, colds, runny noses, maybe some with the flu as well. These are usually well-treated at home with a fever reducer and fluids to ensure the child is hydrated.

Younger than 3 months

If your child is less than three months of age, or if the fever is beyond 5-7 days, that is probably the time to seek medical advice.

Community first

If you think your child is lethargic, ill-looking, then you should seek medical advice.  If you're going to seek medical advice, think first about a resource in the community.

Handwashing

Handwashing is a great preventative measure, when kids are coughing cough into the crux of your elbow, and hand washing, hand washing and more handwashing.

Call 811

Officials at both hospitals added that parents concerned about their child who is suffering from a cold or flu should first call Info-Santé at 811, consult their family doctor or talk to a pharmacist about managing symptoms.