In response to widespread flu activity in Michigan, Memorial Healthcare in Owosso has instituted visitor restrictions. The hospital provided the following statement:
For the safety of our patients, staff and volunteers, Memorial Healthcare has implemented visitor restrictions for the entire hospital, including its Long-Term Care units, in an effort to protect and contain the spread of the flu. These restrictions are effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.
The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services has increased the Michigan flu code to “widespread” due to increases in lab-confirmed flu in the state. Seasonal flu viruses can be detected year-round; however, seasonal flu activity often begins as early as October and November and can continue to occur as late as May.
“Visitors are being asked not to visit if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms: runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headache, fever, nausea/vomiting, body aches and diarrhea,” says Megan Smith, MSN, RN, director of Quality & Safety at Memorial Healthcare.
No visitors aged 12 and under will be permitted in the facility, even with no symptoms, unless that child is coming into the hospital for a service. If children are accompanying an adult who is healthy and here to visit, they will be asked to wait in the front lobby or cafeteria supervised by another adult that is a family member/friend.
People often use the term “flu” to describe any kind of mild illness, such as a cold or a stomach virus that has symptoms like the flu, but the real flu is different. “The flu causes a fever, body aches, a headache, a dry cough and a sore or dry throat. You will probably feel tired and less hungry than usual. The symptoms usually are the worst for the first three or four days, but it can take one to two weeks to get completely better,” says Smith.
The flu is spread from person to person up to six feet away, through droplets when coughing, sneezing or talking and can live on hard surfaces for 24 hours. It is important to know that people who have the flu are contagious for a day prior to symptoms developing, and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine. For those six months and older, the vaccine protects against three or four viruses that research suggests will be the most common. If you get the flu vaccine but still catch the flu, your symptoms will be milder.
“Other ways to protect yourself against the flu include washing your hands; avoiding close contact with people that are sick; covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs; and limiting contact with others if you become ill. If you do get the flu, you should remain home until you are symptom-free for at least 24 hours (except to seek medical care),” adds Smith.
“Memorial Healthcare’s Board of Trustees, administration, medical staff and employees take this issue very seriously,” says Memorial Healthcare President/CEO Brian L. Long, FACHE. ‘I am proud to state that 99.8 percent of our over 1,300 employees received the flu vaccine in preparation for this year’s flu season.
“We sincerely appreciate the community’s support in our continued efforts to protect our patients, their family members, our employees, volunteers and physicians,” says Long.”