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Flu Season Update: Changes to Visitor Policy & Tips

Friday, February 01, 2019 1:30 PM
Tags: flu

In recent weeks, there has been an increase in influenza and other respiratory viruses. NorthShore has updated visitor restrictions to protect patients, visitors and staff at all of our hospitals. The temporary visitor changes include:

  • Visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted in patient care units. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the bedside care team
  • The number of visitors will be limited to two per patient at any one time
  • All visitors are required to perform hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette before entering and after exiting patient rooms
  • Visitors with symptoms of acute respiratory illness (including fever, cough, and sore throat) are advised to not visit patients in the hospital
  • Symptomatic visitors who wish to enter a patient room are required to wear a mask and will be instructed on the importance of hand hygiene
  • Visitors are strongly advised to get the influenza vaccine to prevent infection of themselves and reduce the possibility of transmission to others

Despite the rise in flu cases, there are some things you can do to help reduce your chances of getting infected. Diana Maniev, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, offers the following suggestions to help beat the virus this season:

  • It's not too late to get a flu shot to help mitigate your chances of getting the flu; however, it is important to note that it may take a couple of weeks for the vaccination to take full effect.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water multiple times throughout the day. Alcohol-based hand rub is also effective against the influenza virus and can be used to clean your hands when water is not available.
  • Refrain from touching surfaces that may be contaminated. This may include items in public areas, such as bathrooms, public transportation and waiting rooms.
  • Cover your mouth. If you have to sneeze or cough, be sure to cover your nose and mouth. This helps keep germs from spreading to others. It is also important to try to avoid coming into close contact with those who are sick.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Being well rested can help your body better fight illness.
  • Manage your stress. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and be sure you are choosing healthy, vitamin-rich foods in your diet.