Widespread Flu Drives Local Healthcare Facilities To Discourage Visitors

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Boone, NC (February 24, 2017) – Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting family and friends who are patients at Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville, NC), Watauga Medical Center (Boone, NC) and The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge (Blowing Rock, NC).

During this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, we ask that children 12 and under refrain from visiting as well. If a patient’s condition becomes critical, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will make every attempt to allow a child to visit per family request. We will evaluate requests on a case-by-base basis and provide guidance on protecting staff, visitors and patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S., with all 50 states reporting sporadic to widespread illness. North Carolina is reporting widespread illness.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.

“Patients and residents are very vulnerable while in the hospital and long-term care, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized or long-term care family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities,” stated Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients and residents safe.”

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. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu, including:

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. After coughing or sneezing, wash or sanitize your hands.
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

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

Typically patients recover from the flu after one week.

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.

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