St. Luke's Hospital Enforces Visitation Restrictions

The flu season is here and St. Luke's Hospital has implemented the flu policy hospitalwide due to the positive results in patients presenting to the ED with influenza like illness (ILI). St. Luke's Hospital is also restricting visitors under the age of 18, and anyone who has any flu like symptoms are asked not to visit.

"Although there has been a recent decrease in the percentage of in-house flu tests coming back positive, the threshold for implementing visitor restrictions is generally accepted to be when the number of visits to Emergency Rooms and outpatient providers due to influenza-like illness is 10% or more of the total visits," explained Megan Parker, RN, Infection Preventionist. "Approximately 11% of our ED visits for the first week of January were due to cough, flu-like illness, and/or fever."

The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Nasal congestion, sore throat and sneezing are common with colds. Both colds and flu bring coughing, headache and chest discomfort. With the flu, though, you are likely to run a high fever for several days and have headache, body aches, fatigue and weakness.

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of seasonal flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough.

"If you become ill, the most important thing to do is stay home and rest so that you get well and you don't infect others," urges Parker. "If you develop worsening of your condition or complications, it is important to seek additional medical attention."

Parker adds, "We know this visitation restriction is difficult for families, but our first responsibility is to protect our patients. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the community in keeping our patients and the staff who care for them as healthy as we can."