Have a cough or sneeze and want to visit someone in the hospital, think again. Hospitals in at least 10 states have started to turn away visitors that have any flulike symptoms. Some hospitals have even banned children and teens from visiting all together, thinking they are the most likely to infect patients with the flu.
Hospitals are trying to take these active steps in protecting their patients and staff from the flu and the spread of it. Four hospitals in the Peoria, Illinois said they were following these guidelines that were given by the state department of public health. “More than anything, we’re just trying to keep the environment safe for patients,” said Dr. Ryan Walsh, the medical director for employee health at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria.
Dr. Walsh says that the hospital has posted the restrictions around the hospital and at the entrance. And for the most part, “people have been cooperative,” he said. “For those people who are sick that have critically ill family members, they’ve been very cooperative about wearing masks and washing their hands.” It’s predicted that these restrictions will stay in place until March.
Exceptions are being made though. If someone has a loved one that is critically ill or dying, “we would make an exception to have a child be available if that was the family’s wishes,” says Dr. Dennis McKenna, the hospital medical director from Albany Medical Center in New York. “We’re not going to draw such a hard line for situations that are in need of a family presence.”
At Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, hospital staff members are screening visitors for the flu and ask if they are healthy. “If so, they get a healthy visitor’s sticker to wear. If they are not, they are asked to not visit until they are feeling better,” said Bruce Rossman, hospital spokesman.
How do you pass as a healthy visitor? Someone who does not have the following flu-like symptoms:
• Fever, greater than 100.4 F
• Sore throat
• Runny nose or congestion
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Rash or draining sores
To help prevent the spread of influenza, pertussis and norovirus the following flu prevention tips were recommended:
• Get your seasonal influenza vaccine
• Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
• Avoid contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
• Get plenty of rest
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Flu Season on the Rise
Some area emergency rooms are seeing a rise in patients with flu like symptoms.
Hospital Precautions to Prevent Further Flu Outbreak
Tennessee is among 29 states in the country with high flu-like activity.That’s according to the most recent report from the CDC.And the flu shot, though recommended, may not be enough to keep you safe.TriStar Summit Medical Center is going a step further to limit exposure.