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As flu spreads, hospitals enact visitor ban

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Jan 14 2014 02:55:46 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 07:15:49 PM CST

PMC warns against visitors with the flu

POCATELLO, Idaho -

A flu outbreak that has spread across the state has some hospitals concerned.

Health officials at the Portneuf Medical Center said they have already treated 21 cases of the flu during this month of January alone. Now, they are taking action by restricting visitors with the flu from coming in and spreading the disease within the medical hub itself.

"You have to remember, some of these people have had surgery...their immune system is already compromised so that is why they are being hospitalized," PMC Infection Preventionist Joyce Devaud said. "We don't want to get them any more sick with something else they had not come in for."

Signs will now be posted on the doors, outlining the visitor restrictions. It reads:

"No visitors under the age of 18; No visitors except immediate family, significant other, caregiver, and clergy; No visitors who exhibit any flu like symptoms (cough, cold, congestion, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea); No visitors who have been exposed to someone who is known to have the flu currently (excluding the visiting family member of flu patient).

Exceptions to under 18 age restrictions: Mother-baby area - all under age 18 visitors must wear a mask; End of life stage patients - all under age 18 visitors must wear a mask."

The Center for Disease Control released a map of where the flu symptoms have spread. You can view that map here: http://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html

And for a link to the FluView website, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/#S1

Devaud said the hospital usually vaccinates for the flu between October and March, but it's hard to determine when this year's flu season might start to dwindle.

"Body aches, fever, chills, congestion; stay home. that would be the best way of stopping the spread of the flu through the community, and that's what we are trying to do," Devaud said.

Hospitals in Texas under the same LHP Hospital Group are also enacting visitor restrictions during this time.

You can watch this story tonight at 5 and 6 on Local News 8.

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