St. Luke’s Hospital lifts flu season visitation restrictions

Published 10:13 am Monday, March 11, 2013

As of the end of February St. Luke’s Hospital lifted visitor restrictions that had been in place since December 2012 related to the flu outbreak.

Visitors under the age of 18 are now allowed to visit patients in the hospital. A significant drop in the number of patients being seen with flu-like symptoms prompted the change. Despite the drop in flu cases, hospital officials recommend that visitors experiencing flu-like symptoms refrain from entering the hospital.

“As we make this change, rest assured we continue our focus on hand hygiene and other infection prevention measures that keep our patients and staff safe,” said Lori Rothell, RN, infection preventionist.

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To further help reduce the chances of getting or spreading the flu, Rothell recommends coughing or sneezing into elbows or tissues, staying current on vaccinations, frequent hand washing and not touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands.

Also, any St. Luke’s Hospital employees who did not take the flu vaccine are no longer required to wear masks within 6 feet of patients.

The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections. 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.

“We have also posted notices throughout St. Luke’s with common sense steps all of us can take to avoid catching or spreading the flu,” adds Rothell. “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 the flu at St. Luke’s.”

– article submitted by Jennifer Wilson