Middlesex Health is restricting visitors at its facilities due to concerns over the flu.
Only immediate family members or a designated support person will be allowed to visit or accompany patients. No one under 18 will be allowed to accompany patients without special permission, and only two visitors will be allowed at a time. Patients will be asked to wash their hands and wear a mask as a precaution.
Officials stressed that anyone with flu-like symptoms should not be visiting or accompanying patients. Symptoms include a fever, vomiting, coughing, diarrhea, body aches and headaches.
Jodi Parisi, Middlesex Health's infection prevention manager, said they based the decision off the statistics from the state Department of Public Health, which shows flu rates climbing.
“The last thing we want to do is give them an infection that somebody brought in to them that would complicate their stay while they’re here," Parisi explained.
She said despite flu activity being widespread, it's not too late for a flu vaccine.
“We vaccinate up until the very end so I recommend that anybody who had not gotten the flu shot yet that they do it now," she added.
Officials also noted that many symptoms of the flu overlap with coronavirus, a new virus that has killed more than 130 people in China.
Middlesex Health is not implementing specific restrictions due to coronavirus, but is prepared to evaluate any high-risk patients who have possible symptoms.
The restrictions take effect immediately at the Middlesex Hospital campus in Middletown, its two satellite emergency departments in Westbrook and Marlborough, and its outpatient center on Saybrook Road in Middletown.
Officials advised patients to contact their primary care doctor before visiting an emergency room unless symptoms are severe.
How to Protect Yourself, Family From the Flu
- Get a flu vaccine each year
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away any used tissues
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow
- Wash your hands often
What Are Flu Symptoms?
- People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever - It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
What to Do When You Are Sick With the Flu:
- Most people who get sick with the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover in less than two weeks.
- Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- 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 for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
- 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 and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Where To Get a Flu Vaccine
It's not too late to get the flu vaccine. For information on locations offering the vaccine near you, click here.