flu_visitor_guidelinesIn the High Country and across North Carolina, flu cases are declining. As a result, mandatory visitation restrictions will transition to voluntary visitation restrictions, effective Monday, March 12, 2018.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is asking people under age 12 and people who are sick or have been exposed to respiratory illness to refrain from visiting friends or family at Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital and The Foley Center as a result of the continued increase in flu and influenza-like illnesses.

The medical team may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for siblings of newborn babies and families of hospice or end of life patients.

We know that limiting visitation is an inconvenience for families with patients in the hospital. However, it is vital that we take every precaution to protect our patients, staff and visitors.

 

Tips to avoid the flu

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Listed below are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.

 

Symptoms of flu

Recognizable Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

 

When to seek care

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov/ or www.cdc.gov/flu.