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Widespread flu prompts hospital visitor restrictions



With the flu activity level in the state of Ohio now classified as "widespread" by The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Mary Rutan Hospital is temporarily changing its visitor policy starting Friday.

Individuals with respiratory symptoms should not be visiting anyone in the hospital. In addition, visitors may be limited on a case by case basis. No visitors, 14 years or younger, are permitted in the Family Birth Center; with the exception of siblings and they will be required to wear a mask at all times.

If you arrive at the Emergency Department for treatment with symptoms of cough, fever, sore throat, body aches, or come for an appointment anywhere in the hospital and exhibit these symptoms; you will be asked to wear a mask and keep away from other patients in the waiting area.

Several groups are identified as having a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with the flu, including pregnant women and children ages six months to 24 years. Reported cases of the flu have increased in the community and because you can be contagious before showing symptoms of the flu, limiting visitors is the best way to protect our patients as well as our visitors.

For the safety of your family, friends and others, take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself from catching or spreading the virus. The CDC recommends anyone over 6 months of age get the flu vaccine, practice social distancing (staying away from ill people) and avoiding public settings where the flu may be easily spread.

Do hand hygiene regularly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitizer — it's the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of any contagious disease. Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes and cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, not into your hand or the air.

If you're sick, stay home. Limit contact with others until you are symptom-free (without medication) for at least 24 hours.

A trip to the hospital emergency department is not necessary unless you develop severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bluish or gray skin color, the inability to drink, persistent vomiting, confusion, or flu-like symptoms which improve but then suddenly reappear.

For common flu symptoms, it's best to first contact your medical provider or call Mary Rutan Hospital's free Call-A-Nurse hotline at 888-810-6674.

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