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With flu cases on the rise, UK HealthCare temporarily amends hospital visitation policy

Note: The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reports 18 confirmed cases of flu, compared to four this time last year. In addition to getting a flu shot, the department recommends proper hand-washing (soap and warm water for 30-40 seconds), which will also help fight the spread of flu and other winter illnesses.

UK HealthCare has temporarily amended its inpatient hospital visitation policy because of increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky. Visitation restrictions are in effect as of 7 a.m. today.

The measures include:

o No visitors under the age of 12
o No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness
o Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time
o Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting
o Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women’s and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
o Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

“Due to an increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, UK HealthCare will be instituting these procedures designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital,” said Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu was widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks — including Kentucky. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.

It is still recommended everyone six months of age and older who hasn’t received a flu shot yet, receive one, Blanton said. “A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza,” she said. (See Five most common myths about flu shots debunked on KyForward.)

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu antiviral drugs are available and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.

From UKNow

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