Stanly Hospital banning visitors under 18, too
Effective Thursday, Stanly Regional Medical Center will join a growing number of North Carolina hospitals to restrict visitation by people under age 18 as a precaution against the spread of influenza, including H1N1.
Except in extreme circumstances, visitors under 18 will not be permitted in the hospital unless they are patients seeking medical care.
The new policy is being implemented as a proactive step to safeguard patients, staff members and adult visitors. Early evidence has shown that children and adolescents are more susceptible to H1N1 flu and have a higher incidence of flu infection than adults. In addition, children are often contagious before they exhibit symptoms.
“Although the limited visitation policy may seem to be an inconvenience for some, I feel in the bigger scheme of things patients and families should understand our reasoning,” explains Dr. Paul D’Amico, medical director of Stanly Regional’s Emergency Department. “We have many patients in and out of the Emergency Department and we need to be concerned for those with weakened immune systems as well as the welfare of our community. Limiting the visitation as planned should help limit the duration and severity of the influenza season.”
In addition to limiting visitation by those under 18, Stanly Regional is urging all persons over 18 to refrain from visiting the hospital if they have flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, coughing, body ache or fever greater than 100 degrees. These persons should not go out in the public until they are fever free for at least 24 hours.
The visitation policy change will remain in effect until the incidence of flu has significantly decreased.
Stanly Regional still emphasizes the following precautions against the flu and other viruses:
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
– Wash your hands often and with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze; Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
– Stay home if you get sick.
More information about the flu will be available on Stanly Regional’s web site, www.stanly.org.