IU Health-Bloomington Hospital Implements Temporary Voluntary Visitor Restriction Policies
On Thursday, January 17, IU Health-Bloomington Hospital implemented a voluntary visitor restriction policy due to the increasing number of flu-like illnesses in the community.
IU Health-Bloomington Hospital will ask that patients have only two healthy adult (18 years or older) visitors at a time. Healthy adult means those not experiencing any flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, tiredness, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting, and those who have not been exposed to the flu virus in the last week.
This policy is temporary, but will be in place throughout flu season.
“The health and safety of our patients, employees, providers and volunteers is of highest priority. Because of the increasing number of flu cases we’re seeing in the community, we believe now is the right time to implement this voluntary restriction and proactively help stop the spread of the virus,” says Amanda Roach, spokesperson at IU Health-Bloomington Hospital.
While the number of hospitalizations for the flu have been low in Monroe County compared to other locations in Indiana, the time to act is before the situation becomes a crisis. Over the last couple of weeks, the number of patients coming to the IU Health Urgent Care Centers and the Emergency Department at IU Health Bloomington Hospital has steadily increased. The ED is seeing between 20 and 30 patients every day with flu symptoms.
Roach asks for the cooperation of the community following the visitor restriction policy and in screening yourself for the flu before visiting the hospital.
“If you have flu symptoms, please stay home. You can keep your loved one in the hospital safe and not spread the flu virus to others by isolating yourself at home if you’re sick,” says Roach. “You can keep in touch with your hospitalized loved one in ways other than seeing them in person. Skype or video chat, telephone calls, texting, email, social networking sites and sending cards all show you care.”
The flu virus is spread when droplets from coughs or sneezes come into contact with another person’s eyes, mouth or nose. For mild flu, it is best to stay home and treat symptoms with rest and a fever-reducing medication like Tylenol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people ill with the flu stay home and stay away from others until they are fever-free for 24 hours without taking a feverreducing medication.
If you’re at high risk for flu complications, see your primary care physician. Emergency medical help may be needed if you have the flu and experience additional symptoms such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen; sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
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