The HSE is advising consulting your local pharmacist or GP before attending an emergency department.
Patients are being asked to consider other forms of care before attending an emergency department, as hospital overcrowding levels reach a record high.
931 people are currently waiting on trolleys across the country, 171 more than the previous record.
Overcrowding in hospitals has reached its highest levels since the Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation began counting trolleys in 2006.
931 people are without a bed, including 26 children.
931 patients are on trolleys in our emergency departments or elsewhere in our hospitals today.
Overcrowding isn't just confined to a small number of hospitals, it is impacting most. We need immediate and decisive action from the HSE and Government.
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) January 3, 2023
University Hospital Limerick is the most overcrowded facility in the country with 97 patients on trolleys.
Chief Clinical Director of the UHL group, Professor Brian Lenehan, all outpatient appointments have been cancelled today and they're turning to to other facilities to handle capacity.
Chief Operations Officer at the HSE, Damian McCallion is waning the crisis is going to get worse before it gets better;
"We don't believe we're at the peak at the moment, in terms of public health projections... We're certainly going to see a very difficult period in January."
The INMO is calling for immediate government intervention to manage the demand.
It says many patients have RSV, Covid or the flu and are calling for a mask mandate to be re-introduced in public settings.