State Fair infirmary equipped to handle emergencies big and small

Aug 28, 2014

A steady stream of patients visit the infirmary at the New York State Fair each day. Though most people have minor maladies, one fairgoer did have a heart attack early in the fair's run and is recovering. Upstate Medical University Hospital ER Physician Erin Wirths isn’t surprised. She says the fairgrounds has all the pieces in place to deal with an emergency situation. For the most part the infirmary handles small things, and sometimes fairgoers who need a few minutes to rest up.

“Anybody can come over at anytime," Wirths said. "We have eight beds here. We have a little triage area and waiting room, it’s air conditioned -- almost too air conditioned when you’re here all day. You can come in and get your vitals checked, make sure you’re okay, we can rehydrate you here with Gatorade and water and see how you feel, and determine if you want to go to the hospital or back to the fair.”

Wirths says so far at the infirmary, it’s been the run of the mill maladies making up a majority of visits.

“A lot of it is dehydration, nausea, vomiting, feeling dizzy like they are going to pass out," Wirths said. "A lot of people have a hard time staying hydrated as they should, or imbibing in alcohol on an empty stomach, we see a lot of that. And then a lot of workers that come here and need a check up, have asthma, need breathing treatments or maybe antibiotics for an infection from a cut.”

The unit is available for anyone who doesn’t feel well, and offers them a place to rest up before deciding if further treatment at the hospital is needed or whether they should go back to the fair. The infirmary sees about 600 people each year.