St. Luke’s lifts H1N1 visitation restrictions

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, February 25, 2010

St. Lukes Hospital lifted on Monday visitor restrictions that have been in place since fall of 2009 for the H1N1 pandemic.
Following the recommendation by the Carolinas HealthCare Systems Corporate Command Center (CCC), St. Lukes Hospital will once again allow youngsters under the age of 18 as visitors.
In reaching this decision, the CCC has been in continuous consultation with epidemiologists, public health officials and other healthcare providers in our region.
The hospital says there remains significant H1N1 activity in our communities, but not to the degree, at present, to maintain the special visitation restrictions.
St. Luke’s says it will continue its focus on hand hygiene and other infection prevention measures that keep patients and staff safe.
The hospital reminds area residents we have not escaped the flu season yet. St. Lukes Hospital urges residents who have not been vaccinated to get their flu vaccine. The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone.
Nasal congestion, sore throat and sneezing are common with colds. Both colds and flu bring coughing, headache and chest discomfort. With the flu, though, you are likely to run a high fever for several days and have headache, body aches, fatigue and weakness.
Whether a person has typical seasonal flu or H1N1 flu, the symptoms are also similar. Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly.
Symptoms of H1N1 flu and seasonal flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. H1N1 can also be associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
“Despite precautions, many people will catch a cold or the flu this year,” Alison Owens, MD and Medical Director of St. Lukes Hospital ED said. “If you become ill, the most important thing to do is stay home and rest so that you get well and you dont infect others. If you develop worsening of your condition or complications, it is important to seek additional medical attention.”
“We have also posted notices throughout St. Lukes with common sense steps all of us can take to avoid catching or spreading the flu,” adds Lori Rothell, RN and Infection Preventionist. “These include thorough hand washing with soap or alcohol-based hand cleaners, covering coughs and, if required or advised, to wear surgical face masks. So far these procedures have worked extremely well at limiting the spread of H1N1 at St. Lukes.”

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