NORTHWEST INDIANA - A rise in influenza cases locally has prompted new visitor restrictions at Franciscan Health hospitals in Northwest Indiana
To prevent the spread of the flu, visitor restrictions have been implemented at Franciscan Health Crown Point, Hammond, Dyer, Michigan City and Munster.
Visitor restrictions include:
While these restrictions may be an inconvenience, they are necessary to ensure patient safety. “If individuals are sick, they shouldn’t be visiting,” said Chris Shakula, infection preventionist at Franciscan Health Crown Point.
In addition, other precautions are being taken by staff at the hospitals. Any employee unable to receive the influenza vaccine must use a mask. Patients with a cough or other respiratory symptoms must be masked on admission, or when leaving their room. Magazines are removed from waiting rooms because of the potential for those items to transmit infections.
Though the common cold and the flu can often look alike, symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, weakness, fatigue and extreme exhaustion are more common indicators of the flu. Also, with the flu, symptoms tend to be worse, come on suddenly and can last as long as two weeks.
Individuals can prevent spread of the flu by avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick and keeping themselves and their surroundings as germ-free as possible. Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes and disinfect any surfaces that could become contaminated.
To view all hospital visitor restrictions across Franciscan Health, visit FranciscanHealth.org/VisitorRestrictions.