FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Health officials are recommending healthcare facilities to impose visitation restrictions due to recent increased flu activity.
The Allen County Department of Health said the recommendations come in the wake of a continued uptick in influenza cases locally. The common strain can be problematic for those at high risk for complications.
“Although you may still feel healthy and want to check on a loved one in the hospital, during that visit you could be potentially exposing them to a virus they may not be able to recover from,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said.
The department is advising healthcare facilities impose the following restrictions to help protect patients, visitors and staff:
- Anyone with a cold or flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough or muscle aches) coming into a healthcare facility seeking treatment should wear a mask while in public areas including waiting rooms.
- No visitors under the age of 18 and no visitors of any age with flu-like symptoms should be allowed to visit patients.
- Visitors should be limited to two essential adults (at least 18-years-old) per patient – essential adults could include designated family members, spouse/domestic partner or spiritual counselors.
- Anyone not allergic to the flu vaccine should be vaccinated.
The department said while the community is experiencing widespread influenza transmission, it’s important not to
unintentionally expose patients in hospitals, nursing homes or any other confined setting.
“So during this time of increased flu activity, please call or send a card to share your good thoughts with those who are ill. And if you are sick with a fever – stay home. Please don’t go to work!”
In addition to the temporary restrictions on visitors, the department also recommends all residents do the following to minimize flu transmission:
- Get vaccinated. All residents 6 months and older should be vaccinated against influenza, as well as pneumonia and pertussis (if recommended) unless there are known allergies to these vaccines. While the vaccine may not provide 100 percent protection against the flu viruses currently circulating, health officials continue to advise residents to get the shot, because at the very least it will help reduce the severity of illness.
- Stay home if you are sick. All residents experiencing fever and muscle aches should stay from school, work, shopping or other social gatherings until they have no fever for 24 hours without the benefit of fever-reducing medications.
- Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm water whenever possible; if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wear a mask if needed. Patients with cough or fever seeking treatment at a healthcare facility should ask for a mask to wear.