Hospital takes steps to contain spread of flu virus

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New visitation restrictions are in place for the remainder of flu season.

By Staff Reports

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2014-2015 flu season is well underway and flu activity is widespread or active in at least 43 states, with elevated activity in the south.

In the interests of protecting patients and healthcare workers, Twin County Regional Hospital has announced temporary visitation guidelines to contain the spread of the flu virus in its facilities.

These guidelines, which will begin immediately and remain in effect until the peak flu season passes, include:

• Visitors will be limited to those who are over the age of 18. Visitors who are under the age of 18 should not visit the hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Women’s Health and Birthing Center since those patients and infants, as well as visitors who are minors, are more vulnerable to illnesses increasing their risk for complications.

• Visitors with flu/cold-like symptoms such as fever, coughing, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches or any sign of respiratory or other illnesses should not visit the hospital unless treatment is needed.

• If visitation is necessary, patients with flu-like symptoms may only have one visitor.

Patients in the Emergency Department may only have one visitor during their stay, which means visitors are asked not to take turns visiting with the patient to protect the health of all parties.

• Patients and visitors to any patients who have presented with or who are isolated with flu/cold-like illnesses may be asked to wear masks in waiting and/or treatment areas.

Martha Easter, TCRH infection prevention coordinator, said, “The flu increases the risk of severe complications to patients with other illnesses, especially in individuals who are receiving cancer treatments or whose immune systems may be compromised.”

She noted that other high risk individuals include pregnant women, infants, children and young adults, and said that TCRH would increase its vigilance.

“We would like to thank the community for their support of these infection prevention measures. The health of our community is very important to us,” said Easter.

Additionally, TCRH offered further advice to prevent the flu, including keeping the mouth and nose covered with a tissue or shirt sleeve when sneezing; disposing of tissue in a trash receptacle promptly after use; and washing hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing (alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be effective).

Other measures include avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth as these areas are vehicles for germs to enter the body; avoiding close contact with symptomatic individuals when possible; contacting a healthcare provider and/or local health departments for the flu vaccine; and drinking lots of liquids and getting plenty of rest.

For additional information, visit www.tcrh.org, www.cdc.gov, www.flu.gov or www.vdh.state.va.us; or call the Virginia Department of Health Hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343).