Henderson hospital restricts access

Jan. 03, 2014 @ 09:12 PM

A rise in statewide influenza infections has prompted Maria Parham Medical Center to implement visitation restrictions to protect patients, visitors and staff.

“It’s just a precautionary measure, we have done this in the past as well,” said hospital spokesman David Ruggles. “We have definitely seen an increase in patients and emergency room patients reporting flu symptoms. I think all hospitals, including us, are seeing an increase in flu patients.”

The state Department of Health and Human Services has reported 13 flu-associated deaths since October. None of the patients were children and five were more than 50 years old.

Maria Parham’s restrictions limit visitors to two adults per patient at any time and exclude children from hospital visits.

They also advise against patients receiving visitors who are experiencing flu symptoms, which includes fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose or sore throat.

Ruggles said the staff has posted signs throughout the hospital that addresses these restrictions.

“We just want to stress the fact that we are doing this for the protection of visitors and patients,” Ruggles said. “We don’t want sick patients to come in contact with someone who has the flu because the patient’s health is already compromised.”

The hospital recommends washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer, and getting the flu vaccine.

Ruggles said it was mandatory for all Maria Parham employees to get the flu shot this season.

Getting the simple shot can help increase chances of staying healthy and avoid getting others sick, according to a statement from the hospital.

Ruggles said the hospital does not know when the restrictions will be lifted, but it will continue to watch state trends for flu infections.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.




Center for Disease Control and Prevention tips for staying healthy:

* Get vaccinated

* Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.

* Sleep; get rest

* Wash your hands often with warm soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

* Disinfect your environment at home and in the workplace.

* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.