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Increase in Flu Cases Prompts Healthcare Facilities to Discourage Visitors

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, seasonal flu activity continues to increase in the U.S. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness increased sharply from last week and has been at or above the national baseline for three weeks so far this season.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have also seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.
“Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients and residents safe,” stated Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “We are appealing to community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized or long-term care family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities.”   
Tips to avoid the flu
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Listed below are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.
Symptons of flu
Recognizable Symptoms Include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea      
  • Vomiting    
Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.
When to seek care
Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov/ or www.cdc.gov/flu.