Following a recommendation from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Memorial Health System is putting into place temporary visitor restrictions at its five hospitals to curb the spread of the flu.
Although flu activity remains low at all five hospitals – Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Decatur memorial Hospital, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville and Taylorville Memorial Hospital – the state is seeing an increase of flu activity, which led to IDPH recommending hospitals implement visitor restrictions.
For the safety of patients and their families, Memorial Health System is recommending that inpatient hospital visits be limited to two visitors per patient at one time and that all visitors be 18 years old or older and show no signs of illness.
The health system also encourages those accompanying outpatients at Memorial facilities, such as its Memorial Physician Services clinics and Memorial ExpressCare locations, to consider these same recommendations.
Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January and February, beginning as early as October and ending as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. As many as 20 percent of all Americans get the flu each year.
To prevent spread of the flu, the CDC recommends individuals take precautions to avoid spreading germs, such as washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and getting your annual flu vaccination (available to those 6 months and older).
Most people who get the flu recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia, according to the IDPH. Over the past decade, influenza and pneumonia have been associated with an average of 3,500 deaths a year in Illinois.
For additional information about the flu, including symptoms and prevention, visit the CDC website, CDC.gov. More information about the flu can be found on Memorial’s Live Well blog, LiveWellMagazine.org, including frequently asked questions.