As a safety precaution, officials at Johnston Health are asking visitors to stay away if they’re feeling under the weather.
“The flu is still spreading in our community, and we want to do all we can to keep our patients from getting the virus,” says Marcia Warner, who is the infection preventionist for the health care system.
Since December, the hospital has admitted four adults and two children with the flu. And while there’s no evidence that visitors are bringing in the flu to patients, Warner says it’s a good idea for people who have coughs, sore throats or general achiness to stay home.
“Sending cards or calling patients during their hospital stays are great ways to let them know you care,” she adds. “And you’ll have piece of mind knowing that you didn’t pass along a virus.”
In waiting areas, patients who are coughing are given masks, tissues and hand sanitizers as well as an information sheet about the flu. Special signs asking sick visitors to stay away have been posted at the entrances to the hospital and outpatient areas.
Warner says the emergency departments are seeing young flu patients with severe dehydration and older adults whose flu has morphed into pneumonia. “It’s especially important to give children plenty of fluids and for older adults to take deep breaths to try and keep their lungs functioning properly,” she added.
All Johnston Health employees are required to take the flu shot. Those who have medical exemptions and don’t get the shot are asked to wear a mask when they see patients.