“The number of positive influenza cases has been increasing and we are also seeing an increase in the number of overall upper respiratory illnesses. Symptoms are similar to those of influenza and the viruses are just as contagious,” explained Nicole Pirlot, infection preventionist at OSF St. Francis Hospital. “We have also seen an increase of respiratory illnesses in small children and would like to remind people not to touch the hands or face of small children and infants, even if you are not actively sick. These viruses can be very dangerous for little ones.”
The following temporary visitor restrictions will go into effect beginning Friday, January 5, 2024.
• A limit of two visitors per patient at one time.
• Visitors must be age 18 or older.
• Visits to patients in isolation for influenza-like illness should be limited to those necessary for the patient’s emotional well-being and care.
• Individuals who are not feeling well or have had flu-like symptoms in the past seven days should not visit hospitalized patients.
We also encourage the following safety guidelines to help prevent the spread of infection:
• Patients seeking treatment for influenza or other respiratory illnesses who are experiencing symptoms such as a cough, fever or sore throat should put on a mask (available at facility).
• When entering and leaving a patient’s room, everyone should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand foam/gel.
• People should cough or sneeze into their arm, shoulder or tissue (not hands) to reduce the spread of germs.
The public’s support and understanding are appreciated. To assist in limiting the spread of disease, practice good handwashing habits or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available and stay home if you are sick. Vaccination against influenza remains the single most effective tool in reducing the risk of severe illness or hospitalization, flu shots are still available through any primary care office with the OSF Medical Group.
For more tips on staying healthy during flu season, visit cdc.gov/flu