In response to the high incidence of flu in the community, Genesis HealthCare System is requesting the support of the community to protect patients and help prevent the spread of the flu. Effective immediately, the hospital will limit patient visitation at both its locations, Genesis-Bethesda and Genesis-Good Samaritan to:
• Individuals age 18 and older
• Immediate family only (parents, grandparents and adult children)
• Two visitors per patient
• Those who are free of flu symptoms, including cough, fever, sore throat, body aches and vomiting
• Only parents, grandparents and guardians may visit infants in the OB nursery and NICU (special care nursery)
The hospital is also asking those who come to the hospital for outpatient testing or procedures to keep the number of individuals bringing them to a minimum and to be aware that if they are showing signs of the flu, they may be asked to wear a mask.
If individuals just have mild flu symptoms, they are advised to follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations by staying home and calling their physician if they have concerns about their risk of complications. If they come to the emergency room and are not sick with the flu, they may run the risk of catching it from those who do have it. Flu symptoms last three to seven days and most people are able to recover at home without medical care. If they have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness outlined below, they should come to the emergency room immediately.
When to Go to the Hospital: Emergency Warning Signs in Children
• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and worse cough
• Fever with a rash
When to Go to the Hospital: Emergency Warning Signs in Adults
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Severe or persistent vomiting
Caring For Yourself at Home
Flu symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, body aches, headache, chills, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea. If you have these symptoms, follow these home care steps:
• Drink lots of fluids. Clear liquids taken in frequent, small amounts are best
• Get adequate rest
• Take medicines from the drug store for aches, fever, cough and sore throat
• Stay home from school, work, church and any situations with crowds or groups of people
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve every time you cough or sneeze
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
Protect Against the Flu
• Get the seasonal vaccine. This is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
• Follow public health advice regarding school closures and avoiding crowds.
For more information on how you can prevent the spread of flu and protect yourself and your loved ones during the flu season, visit Genesis’ website at genesishcs.org or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s website at www.flu.gov.