Temporary Visitation Restrictions in place at Self Regional Medical Center
(Greenwood, S.C., Jan. 8, 2015) At this time, Self Regional Medical Center is placing temporary visitation restrictions to protect our patients and other visitors against the spread of flu.
If you have any respiratory illness or are a child age 12 and younger, we request that you do not visit hospitalized patients at Self Regional Medical Center.
The Infectious Disease team actively monitors the number of flu cases in the area and at our facilities and has determined that limiting visitation is a necessary measure to keep visitors and patients safe.
“This has been a particularly active flu season for the Lakelands region, and we want to try to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible,” said Dr. John Holman, Infectious Disease Specialist at Self Regional Healthcare. “Keeping our patients, our visitors and our team members safe is the reason we have decided to enact these temporary visitation restrictions.”
The last time Self Regional Medical Center enacted flu visitation precautions was 2009.
Even when restrictions are not in place, Self Regional’s Infection Prevention department always encourages people who are sick, particularly with an illness that is considered infectious or can be transmitted, to avoid visiting patients at the hospital. Individuals who have the flu may be infectious 24 hours before they have symptoms.
THE FLU AND YOU
Understanding The Virus and Its Effects
To learn more about how to prevent, diagnose and treat the flu, here is some information from Infectious Disease Specialist John Holman, M.D., from Greenwood.
“This is the most active flu season I have seen since coming to Greenwood in 1986,” Dr. Holman said. “There is significant flu this year. Ultimately, we will have to track the numbers to find out how this season compares to others, however we are seeing lots of patients who are testing positive for flu.”
To prevent the flu, Dr. Holman recommends:
- Washing your hands
- Avoiding people who are coughing
- Get vaccinated
- Don’t touch your face with your hands
How Flu Is Spread
To understand how the flu is spread, he explains that flu is spread by droplets, either from coughing or sneezing. There is a large amount of virus in the secretions, and flu is typically spread within a close proximity, of 6 to 10 feet.
Caring for someone with flu:
- Tamiflu if you can get it and afford the cost of the prescription
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands frequently
Should I get vaccinated?
The flu vaccine has three or four different strains of the flu virus in it.
“In this year’s vaccine, the H3N2 vaccine has mutated and is not proving to be as effective as we’d like. I’m seeing lots of patients who are sick with Strain A of the flu. However, the flu may change again and the vaccine’s effectiveness may improve later in the season,” Dr. Holman said.
“I recommend getting the flu vaccine as soon as it is available—usually in September or October. Now we are in the midst of flu season, and the vaccine takes 2 weeks to get immunity.”
Have The Flu?
If you have the flu, Tamiflu or Relenza only works within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. However, those medications can be helpful at preventing flu if you are caring for someone who has the flu. Depending on your insurance coverage, those medications can be expensive.
If you get the flu, try to rest as much as possible, keep fluids going in and don’t get dehydrated, take Tylenol to keep the fever down, and throat lozenges to keep throat moist.
Thinking of visiting someone in the hospital?
During flu season visitors can unknowingly spread influenza to patients in the hospital. The influenza virus takes 1 to 4 days to incubate before producing symptoms. The day before symptoms occur you can give the flu virus to others so it is best not to visit during flu season if possible. Persons with respiratory symptoms should definitely restrict visitation to a phone call and avoid visiting the Medical Center. Children are especially good at sharing the virus so children younger than 12 who are not patients should not visit patients or waiting areas of the hospital during flu season.