The policy was set in place as a safety measure to protect patients as the flu starts to impact the community.
“There was a large increase in the number of influenza cases among children under the age of 18 last week and we felt that it was now time to include age restrictions to our visitor policies during this active flu season,” said Tami Binger, a registered nurse and Fisher-Titus infection control preventionist.
In addition to the restriction on children, the hospital is asking persons who are sick to not visit patients. Visitors also are currently being restricted to two per patient in all areas of the hospital.
Anyone who is sick, especially if they may be coughing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, have a fever, or stomach problems including diarrhea, can help protect patients and community members by not visiting until their symptoms are gone, Binger added.
“Any visitors or guests who exhibit obvious signs of illness will be requested to leave the facility for our patients’ health and well being,” Binger said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.