Now that flu season is in full swing across the country, health officials in multiple states are doing what they can to contain the sickness. Hospital officials in Indiana have gone so far as to begin restricting hospital visits in order to prevent the flu from spreading.
According to the Indy Star, a number of central Indiana hospitals have taken action to limit patient visits. The hospitals are restricting visits only to immediate family members at least 18 years of age. Anyone under the age of 18 is not be allowed to visit. The hospitals are also restricting visits from family members who show symptoms of influenza.
The Indy Star reports that two healthcare providers, IU Health and Franciscan Health, have already implemented their own restrictions. An official policy developed by the Marion County Public Health Department is expected to be implemented on January 8.
Influenza in the State
Influenza is described by the CDC as a “contagious respiratory illness” that can vary from mild to potentially fatal in its severity. The illness typically affects the nose and throat. It can make its way to the lungs as well.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported nine deaths from the flu through December 2017. All but one of the patients was over the age of 50. Furthermore, the state’s emergency departments saw an increase in patients being admitted for flu-like symptoms. The Indy Star reports that just under 3% of all emergency department visits statewide in December were related to the flu.
By limiting hospital visits to immediate family members only, hospital officials hope to reduce the amount of foot traffic in and out of their facilities. That should help curb the spread of the flu to some extent. The visitor restrictions will obviously do nothing to prevent patients who contract the flu at the hospital from taking it home with them, should they be discharged before the sickness is diagnosed.