Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is restricting hospital visitors due to a recent spike in patients diagnosed with flu - influenza A and B - as well as a number of cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Until the flu season ends, children under age 12 will not be allowed to visit patients at YRMC West in Prescott or YRMC East in Prescott Valley. Siblings of newborns in YRMC’s Family Birthing Center are included in these restrictions.
“Our first priority is always the health and safety of our patients,” said Robbie Nicol, Executive Director, Community Outreach and Philanthropy. “We believe these short-term restrictions will help prevent flu in hospitalized patients, many of whom have weakened immunity. Also, we believe this will help prevent further spread of the flu in our communities.”
YRMC also is asking people of all ages with flu-like symptoms not to visit hospitalized patients. Flu symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Stomach distress
“These visitation restrictions are temporary. They will be lifted when the flu season ends,” Nicol said. “We very much appreciate the support of the community as we strive to protect patients from this virus.”
Understanding the Flu
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Flu complications can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu can be particularly dangerous for older people, young children and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. Healthy individuals with no chronic medical conditions may suffer from complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections or sinus infections that require additional medical treatment.
RSV is another infection of the lungs and respiratory tract that can be particularly severe in premature babies and infants with underlying health conditions. RSV can also become serious in older adults, adults with heart and lung diseases, or anyone with a very weak immune system.
Protecting Yourself from the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine. Here are other tips to reduce your chances of getting the flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill with the flu.
- If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid spreading germs by not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects to keep them as germ-free as possible.