AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Georgia Regents Medical Center is temporarily restricting hospital visitation in an effort to prevent the spread of influenza virus and other respiratory illnesses.
Friends and family under age 12 are not allowed to visit the hospital, officials said in a release. Guests who are experiencing flu-like symptoms are also asked to stay away from patients at the medical center and at the Children's Hospital of Georgia.
"Hospital patients, especially those with weak immune systems or with severe underlying illnesses, are vulnerable to influenza, and we have an obligation to protect them," said Dr. Kevin C. Dellsperger, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at GRMC.
According to national reports, the most common strain circulating this year is the H1N1 (2009 pandemic) strain, which is also the dominant strain currently being diagnosed at Georgia Regents.
"There have already been several hospital admissions of patients with flu infection," said Dellsperger. "The flu virus is very contagious and spreads rapidly, and we will do our best to minimize the risk."
Dellsperger advises the best way to keep the flu from spreading is for those infected to stay home and recover. He said that symptoms include fever of 100 degrees or higher and any of the following:
- cough and/or sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- headache and/or body aches
- nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
Besides limiting exposure, frequent hand-washing is a good preventive measure as is getting a flu vaccine.
This is not the first time the health system has implemented temporary visitation restrictions due to flu.
"We take the health and safety of our patients, families and staff very seriously," Dellsperger said. "While it could pose a minor inconvenience to some, it is for the greater good."