St. Luke’s Hospital Announces Temporary Visitor Restrictions

Published 11:37 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

St. Luke’s Hospital announces the need to restrict visitors due to an influx of influenza.

“It’s that time of year when we see lots of patients and teammates with the flu. One way to limit its spread is to limit visitors,” said Lori Rothell, RN, Infection Preventionist with St. Luke’s Hospital. “I receive weekly reports from the NC State Laboratory of Public Health (SLPH), so I’ve been watching flu spread across the state. It’s definitely arrived in Polk County as St. Luke’s Lab has confirmed 65 cases of influenza to date.”

The annual flu season ranges between October and May. In North Carolina, there have been 35 flu-related deaths so far.

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“No one should be visiting the hospital if they have a cough, fever or sore throat, and because children are at high risk, we ask that no one under the age of 18 visit patients here,” Rothell said.

“We encourage all teammates to protect themselves and our patients by having a flu vaccine. In certain cases, employees can decline the vaccine for religious or medical reasons, but these few individuals must wear protective masks when they are within six feet of patients,” Rothell said.

Flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness, even death. Older people, young children and people with certain health conditions are at a higher risk for serious complications. Flu symptoms include: a 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever); a cough and/or sore throat; a runny or stuffy nose; earaches and/or body ache; chills; fatigue; and nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children).

To avoid catching the flu, get vaccinated each year and practice good hand hygiene. To avoid giving the flu to others, stay home when you are sick, cough or sneeze into tissues and discard them properly, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an approved hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

– Submitted by Kathy Woodham