Shelbyville Daily Union

January 31, 2014

SMH limits visitors during flu epidemic

Shelbyville Daily Union

---- — Shelby Memorial Hospital is requesting that the public limit their visitation to patients in the hospital.

“Since many counties in Illinois have experienced high levels of influenza-like symptoms, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released recommendations to area hospitals. Therefore, we are following their recommendation of limiting patients to two visitors. If you are ill, please do not visit. If you must be at the hospital for a loved one, masks are available for your use,” said Penny Jiter, RN, Infection Control Manager and spokesperson for SMH.

Jiter continues, “We encourage visitors to wash their hands before and after visiting patients. Hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of infections.”

According to the IDPH, it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. Common flu symptoms include sore throat, high fever, cough, body aches and feeling fatigued.

Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Over the past decade, influenza and pneumonia have been associated with an average of 3,500 deaths a year in Illinois. Flu-related complications can occur at any age, but the elderly and people with chronic health problems are much more likely to develop serious complications after influenza infection than are young, healthier people. During most flu seasons, which typically run from October through March, between 10 percent and 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza viruses. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year in the United States.