Hospitals implement flu prevention strategies

Hospitals implement flu prevention strategies
Dr. Steve Kitchen is the Chief Medical Officer at Phoebe. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Steve Kitchen is the Chief Medical Officer at Phoebe. (Source: WALB)
Tift Regional Medical Center is educating the public about flu symptoms. (Source: WALB)
Tift Regional Medical Center is educating the public about flu symptoms. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Charles Ruis is the District Health Director. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Charles Ruis is the District Health Director. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - We are heading into the peak of flu season and area hospitals are doing all they can to keep the number of cases down, but it's going to take cooperation from people at home.

"Influenza is very active in our health system right now," explained Dr. Charles Ruis, the District Health Director for the Department of Public Health.

Ruis said his office has been monitoring the flu in all areas, looking for clusters where patients with the flu are popping up.

"Peak season is commonly January and February, but it's a bit unpredictable. You never know what you're going to face," explained Ruis.

From Colquitt and Tift Regional Medical Center to Phoebe Putney Memorial, hospitals are starting to see cases of the flu.

"This is a good time to make sure that we are doing everything we can from an infection and prevention standpoint to cut down on transmission of the flu," said Phoebe's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Kitchen.

Colquitt Regional is recommending kids under the age of 18 and anyone with flu-related symptoms not to visit people at the hospital.

Phoebe has also put out guidelines for visitors:

  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">Patient visitation should be limited to care and support of the patient.
  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">Children under the age of 18 should not visit the hospital.
  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">Do not visit if you have any signs or symptoms of influenza.
  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">If you have a fever, cough, body aches, or a sore throat, please postpone your visit until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">Anyone coming into the hospital with flu and cold symptoms will be required to wear a mask.
  • style="margin-bottom:6.0pt;">Visitors will be required to wear personal protective equipment such as gown, gloves, and a mask if visiting a patient in isolation.

"We try to be sensitive and practical," said Kitchen.

Like any infection prevention, hospitals want to remind you of the basics.

"Make sure you wash your hands, cover your mouth. Those go a long way," explained Kitchen.

If you are sick, don't be pushing your limits and going out in public unless it's to the doctor.

"Even though we can't cure the flu, medications are available that can be taken that will diminish the severity and duration of the flu symptom," said Ruis.

Officials with the department of public health said they have seen a small cluster of flu cases in Colquitt County at a residential facility.

They also said during this time of year, they usually see students, especially athletes who come down with the flu.

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