Hospital restricts visitors
With the early onset of flu season upon us, coupled with the additional risk of the H1N1 flu virus, Tri-County Hospital is restricting hospital visitors to immediate family over the age of 12 only.
According to Corrine Neisess, infection control nurse manager at Tri-County Hospital, visitor restriction is an appropriate response to the flu and its high incidence occurring locally.
"It is necessary for the protection of the community and our patients," said Neisess, who added that the restriction will be ongoing until further notice.
Since influenza is an airborne virus -- spread from one person to another by droplets from coughing or sneezing -- it is important to limit contacts to decrease spreading it. Although flu symptoms are felt throughout the body, the flu virus lives and multiplies primarily in the lungs. Community members can help stop the spread of the flu by covering their cough, avoiding contact with others when sick and by washing hands frequently.
"The hospital is not only attempting to limit the flu from entering through sick visitors, but also from being spread to healthy visitors," explained Kathy Kleen, director of patient care services. "We are confident that people will realize the small inconveniences they face from these preventative measures are far outweighed by the benefit they will do in preventing the spread of the flu."
Kleen added that the Center for Disease Control recommends that if you are sick with the flu to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to seek emergency medical care. This means avoiding normal activities, including work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings during the time you are sick.
For more information and updates regarding both the seasonal flu and the novel H1N1 flu, visit the Web site at www.tricountyhospital.org.