Don’t Let “Illness Grinch” Spoil Your Holiday Fun: Help is a Phone Call Away.

It’s the holiday season. You’ve planned. You made a list and checked it twice. The decorations are up; the shopping is done; the table is set and relatives are en route. The fun starts, then the unexpected happens – a sick child, a faint relative or even you fall ill. What to do?

Emergency center visits, especially for sick children, can spike during the holidays. It’s also flu season, plus other illnesses and injuries can strike at any time. When it comes to health concerns, many people struggle to determine whether to go to an emergency center or wait to see a primary care physician, particularly when they are away from home for the holidays, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Call the Free 24/7 Nurse Health Line

Not to worry, with the Nurse Health Line, an answer is a phone call away. When you call the Nurse Health Line — (713) 338-7979 or toll-free at 1-855-577-7979  — experienced bilingual nurses will answer and use their training and experience to conduct assessments to help you decide when and where to go for care. The nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your health questions for adults and children age 1 and up. Health insurance is not required.


“We know there are families who will have medical emergencies and questions during the holiday season and we are there to help them with their concerns as well as assist them in making a decision about the right level of care for their child, a relative or even themselves,” said Chris Stephens, Triage Center Director of Nurse Health Line. “The purpose of the Nurse Health Line is to give people the right information when they need it most – when they have a health concern.”

However, for life-threatening emergencies, please call 9-1-1. The Nurse Health Line is not designed to assist with life-threatening conditions or emergencies, Stephens added.

Piloting New After-hours Triage Service & House Calls for Kids in The Woodlands

Children’s Memorial Hermann recently partnered with PediaQ to offer after-hours access to a pediatric-trained registered nurse or nurse practitioner who can answer questions about sick children – newborn to age 18 – and provide complete triage services over the phone.

Currently, the service is free for parents in The Woodlands area only. Parents can access the triage by requesting a pediatric-trained registered nurse or nurse practitioner via the app much like the way you can hail a ride through various app-based ride-sharing services. Once the request is accepted, a nurse will return the call within minutes to discuss the child’s symptoms and conditions and help parents determine what to do next.

The triage service is available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekends when pediatricians’ offices are typically closed.


In addition to the triage service, there’s an added benefit for parents in The Woodlands area. Because Memorial Hermann  launched the pilot project at Children’s Memorial Hermann at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital, nurse practitioners currently are offering house calls in the area for children experiencing a range of injuries and illnesses, including flu, strep, fever, asthma, allergies, cuts and scrapes, stings and bites, pink eye, ear infections, vomiting, and other conditions. The fee for the house call is $25 plus your regular co-pay.

All of the nurse practitioners have at least five years of experience in pediatric care. They are employed by PediaQ and with oversight provided by board-certified MHMD physicians, said Victoria Regan, M.D., FAAP, Senior Vice President for Memorial Hermann’s Women & Children’s Service Line.

“Parents in our community have come to rely on Children’s Memorial Hermann for providing the best, highest quality treatments for their children,” said Dr. Regan. “This new pilot project builds on that reputation, giving families yet another option for accessing care at times most convenient for them.”


Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

For life-threatening emergencies, please call 9-1-1. The Nurse Health Line is not designed to assist with life-threatening conditions or emergencies.


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Tashika Varma