LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At emergency rooms around Kentuckiana, it's the calm before what's expected to be a storm of patients.

That storm is expected to hit the day after Christmas, when people take care of things they didn't think were important enough to deal with on the holiday. Renee Cecil, the nurse manager of the emergency department at Norton Audubon Hospital, said people there know it's coming, and they'll be ready.

"We do have some extra staff on board, obviously extra equipment, anything that we need," Cecil said. "Our colleagues in the inpatient unit are ready if we do have to admit some patients ... So everybody's pretty much all hands on board so we can take care of these patients timely and effectively."

But Cecil said some things can't wait until Dec. 26. She said people should resist the temptation to ignore warning signs and brush off those chest pains as heartburn, because you don't want to be a burden on the holiday.

"Men are very classic," she said. "They have that in the middle-of-their-chest pressure. Women tend to have the odd symptoms, maybe some back pressure through their shoulder blades or jaw pain or arm pain. Sometimes it's over fatigue. We're all fatigued and stressed during this time. But you've got to listen to your body and know this is something different."

It's also that perfect storm time of year with lots of people getting together and respiratory illnesses at their height. But simple steps can prevent an illness that you'll take into the new year.

"Large crowds such as in airports, things like that or in homes with families and friends, tend to be when people are coughing, sneezing," Cecil said. "Those droplets will get on surfaces, so hand washing is extremely important."

Cecil said if you do need medical attention on the holiday, and it's not something serious, you don't necessarily have to go to the hospital. Norton will have three Immediate Care Centers open on Christmas.

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