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Originally published: 2013-01-16 16:52:26
Last modified: 2013-01-16 16:52:26

Hospital Visitation Restrictions Requested

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu cases in our area visitors 12 and under not visit hospitalized family and friends. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S. with 47 states reporting widespread illness. North Carolina is one of these states.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness. While everyone who presents is not tested for the flu, among those tested in the System's facilities, more than 140 have tested positive since November 2012. Watauga Medical Center has admitted 17 patients due to the flu.  

"Patients are very vulnerable while in the hospital, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities," stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. "Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients safe."

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu: Protect yourself, your family and your community

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.

• If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.

• Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.


Symptoms

• Fever
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Body aches• Chills
• Fatigue
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Headache
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting    
Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.


Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

• Sudden dizziness

• Confusion

• Severe or persistent vomiting

• Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough

• In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation


ARHS is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit http://www.flu.gov/.