Local hospitals continue to enforce temporary visitor restrictions due to high flu activity.
The Marion County Public Health Department says the percentage of visits to Marion County emergency departments for flu-like illness during the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 3 was 4.5 percent. During last flu season (2016-2017), the percentage of visits to local emergency departments for flu-like illnesses did not go above 2.3 percent.
While flu season is hard to predict, the health department says increased flu activity is likely to last several more weeks and many more cases of influenza are expected.
Temporary visitor restrictions at local hospitals began Jan. 8. They include:
- No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
- No visitors under the age of 18.
- Visitors limited to immediate family as identified by the patient.
The health department suggests checking a hospital’s website or calling in advance to learn more about restrictions at a specific location and any exceptions.
Marion County hospitals participating in the temporary visitor restrictions include those within Community Health Network; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; St. Vincent; and Indiana University Health, including Riley Hospital for Children; as well Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush V.A. Medical Center.
Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, is urging everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. To learn how to get a low-cost flu shot from the health department, call 317-221-2122 or visit MarionHealth.org.
Other preventable actions regarding flu include:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs can spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.