Hospitals adopt stricter rules in wake of flu epidemic
Hospital systems across Montgomery County are enforcing restricted visitation policies due to a widespread flu epidemic.
Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center, Holy Cross Germantown and Silver Spring Hospitals, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Suburban Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital have all initiated polices to try to minimize the spread of the flu.
Montgomery County Health and Human Services Public Information Officer Mary Anderson issued a statement on Jan. 23 stating that the six major hospital systems in Montgomery have implemented the following visitor policies:
- People exhibiting flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, chills, body aches, congestion and sore throat are asked not to enter the hospital.
- Children under the age of 12 years old are not allowed to visit the hospital. Some exceptions apply, including visiting a family member in end-of-life circumstances.
- If a visitor exhibiting flulike symptoms must be in the hospital, they are asked to wear a mask.
Holy Cross Hospitals are also limiting the number of visitors in their labor and delivery and pediatrics units.
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services urges all County residents to get their flu shot and practice prevention measures to avoid spreading the illness.
Anderson said if your local drug store or doctor's office is out of the flu vaccine, residents can visit https://vaccinefinder.org.
Health officials are also asking residents to follow preventive measures to avoid spreading the flu, including:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
- 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.
- If you are sick with a flulike illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care. Avoid contact with other people as much as possible while you are sick.
For more information about the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.