Hospitals Ban Visitors as Deadly Flu Spreads
AS FLU SEASON PICKS UP across the country, hospitals are restricting visitors in an effort to prevent spread of the virus.
New York City and 19 states have experienced high levels of flu-like activity so far this season, with 1,562 lab-confirmed, flu-related hospitalizations as of Oct. 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Dec. 29, 13 children had died after being diagnosed with the virus.
The influx of influenza-like cases in recent weeks has prompted hospitals in New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana and elsewhere to impose restrictions on visitors. They generally ask that people with flu or cold symptoms – including coughing, nausea and fatigue – and children stay away until the end of flu season, which typically peaks from December to February.
In Marion County, Indiana, for example, only immediate family members may visit hospital patients, and no visitors under 18 will be permitted. In western North Carolina, hospitals have banned pregnant women, people with chronic lung conditions and children under 12 from visiting others in the hospital. And facilities in Massachusetts ask that children under 14 refrain from visiting.