St. Vincent’s encourages people with flu symptoms to forgo in-person visits

The Connecticut Department of Health has classified flu activity in Connecticut as widespread, with flu-related emergency room and outpatient visits both on the rise. As part of their ongoing commitment to preventing the spread of influenza, St. Vincent’s Medical Center is asking potential visitors with any flu symptoms to forgo in-person visits to loved ones who are hospitalized.

“Our staff takes every precaution to help keep our patients, staff and visitors safe during flu season,” said Corina Marcu, MD, St. Vincent’s chief quality and medical education officer. “Considering the severity of this season’s activity, we need to ask the public to help us in our efforts by being vigilant and conservative when deciding whether or not to visit, especially if they are ill.”

“The most common symptoms of influenza are fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, body aches and fatigue,” said Dr. Marcu. “Some people may also experience nausea/vomiting and diarrhea, although those tend to be more common in younger children than adults.”

St. Vincent’s encourages potential visitors to follow these recommendations prior to visiting the hospital:

How the flu spreads

For years, conventional wisdom among flu experts has been that influenza was not an airborne virus but spread by fairly large droplets resulting from coughing or sneezing. However, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates individuals with influenza can easily transmit the virus to others by exhaling flu-laden particles that can float and contaminate the air around them for minutes and even hours. In others words, even if they aren’t coughing or sneezing, individuals with the flu can launch contagious particles into the air whenever they talk or breathe, according to the report.

These new findings can prove useful for containing the spread of influenza, especially during a season of such widespread and simultaneous flu activity.

Five ways to protect yourself and others from the flu:

The following precautions are based on recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

There is still time to get your flu vaccine. If you have flu symptoms and need to see a doctor, or if you need to schedule your vaccination, visit http://www.getstvincentscare.com/.