TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Tift Regional Health System announced Monday that due to the large number of viral illnesses such as flu, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a variety of other diseases, the hospital wants patients to call their primary care provider for flu and simple gastrointestinal symptoms before coming to the Emergency Room.
They said this would enable the Emergency Room to care for patients with life-threatening conditions more rapidly. Visit the Tift Regional Medical Center Facebook page for advice on when and where to go if you are ill. The CDC also provides information.
TRHS is also instituting visitor restrictions for the remainder of flu season. This includes barring children under 18 from visiting the hospital, limiting visitors to two at a time, and not allowing visitors with colds, flu-like symptoms and nausea/vomiting or diarrhea.
These measures will help protect patients, visitors, staff and the community from illness. Many other hospitals are instituting the same measures.
Mary Key, Director of Infection Prevention for TRHS, said, "Hospitals across the state and nation are experiencing record emergency room volumes. We urge the community to join in efforts to avoid the spread of flu, gastrointestinal and other viral illnesses."
Key also encourages the community to get their flu shot. "If you have not done so already, get the flu vaccine - it's not too late. Receiving this simple shot can help increase your chances of staying healthy and avoiding getting others sick. If you do contract the flu, the flu shot will lessen your symptoms."
Key says the community can help increase their and their family's chances of remaining well and slowing the spread of illnesses by following these guidelines:
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizers frequently. Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of illness.
Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. Germs spread that way.
If you do visit a patient in the hospital, make sure to clean your hands when entering and leaving the hospital either by washing with soap or rubbing your hands together with hand sanitizer. There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the hospital for your convenience.
While visiting hospitalized family and friends is an important part of the healing process, limit visitors to only those closest to the patient and only allow two adults in a patient's room at a time.
Don't bring children under 18 on hospital visits. Children are more likely to get sick and spread viruses.
Avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible.
If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay at home for at least 24 hours except to get medical care or other necessities.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu. When shopping, wipe your cart with disinfectant wipes.