Local hospitals take preventative measures for visitors, patient - KMOV.com

Local hospitals take preventative measures for visitors, patients during flu spike

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Anderson Hospital in Maryville, Ill. (Credit: KMOV) Anderson Hospital in Maryville, Ill. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The CDC now places Illinois and Missouri as one of the more than 20 states with a widespread flu outbreak.

So far more than 121 people in Illinois have been admitted into the ICU with the flu.

At least one child has died.

That’s enough to prompt the Illinois Department of Public Health to issue a notice recommending hospitals set restrictions for visitors.

Anderson Hospital and Belleville Memorial Hospital both issued restrictions, not allowing anyone under 18 or presenting flu-like symptoms from visiting patient floors.

Flu-like symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sneezing and fever.

“If you're ill it's really better to stay home and not visit your friend or family member in the hospital,” said Dr. Hilary Babcock, Washington University infectious disease expert at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “They already have enough trouble they’re already in the hospital they don't need to get sicker.”

The recommended restrictions also include visitors with acute respiratory illness symptoms. However, the notice states that if the visitors insist, staff should require them to wear a face mask.

A spokesperson for SSM Health and Barnes-Jewish Health in St. Louis tells us that none of their hospitals in the area are not implementing restrictions yet, as they have not received any recommendation to do so from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

However, some hospitals like St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, a part of SSM Health, provide face masks and antibacterial stations at their entrance with a sign asking people who feel ill to use them when inside the building.

Dr. Babcock says there’s no way to predict how long the spike will last, but the flu season typically lasts until March and even April.

She recommends people get vaccinated.

“Even if they get the flu after they got the shot, it’s still not as severe as if they didn’t get the shot,” she said. “So it’s still worth getting.”

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