Due to the recent spike of influenza cases, the Illinois Department of Public Health has asked hospitals to limit visitors.
Sarah Bush Lincoln is now restricting patient visitation following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To protect patients and prevent the spread of the flu virus, the temporary policy includes restricting visitors under the age of 18 or who have a cough or cold. Visitors who are experiencing symptoms of acute respiratory illness will be required to wear a mask. In addition, the number of visitors is limited to two persons at any one time.
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It causes mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
“We want to ensure that our patients and our community are as protected as possible when it comes to exposure to the flu,” Ramona Tomshack, RN, Infection Control, said. “This is simply one step we are taking to help limit the number of influenza cases in our area.”
Individuals can also take measures to prevent the spread of the flu. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three influenza viruses that research suggests will be most common. It is not too late to get a flu vaccine, so contact your provider for more information. Also, the flu virus can survive two to eight hours on surfaces, so washing your hands often is important.
The CDC also recommends if you get sick with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea), you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.