Flu cases prompting local hospitals to take precautions on visitors
Tennessee has an increase in the number of flu cases at this time of year. Hospitals are asking you take extra precaution before visiting any friends or family.
Hospitals prefer if you have any flu-like symptoms to just stay away from the hospital. If you must visit, they ask you wear a mask.
Betsy Chase, director of infection and prevention at Parkridge, told us, "If you have the flu, we really would prefer that you not visit the hospital."
Parkridge says they have peaked for the flu season. Numbers are down this week, but still higher than normal.
"Tennessee as a whole has increased amount of flu right now," Chase said.
For that reason, some hospitals are encouraging those with flu-like symptoms to not visit.
"Usually you want to wait until you have been fever-free without medicines for at least 24 hours before you would visit," Chase said.
It's so contagious they do not want it spreading to their patients.
Chase said, "Obviously, they are there for a reason either for being ill or maybe even recovering from surgery so we don't want them to come down with anything that they don't already have or not have to fight anything that they aren't already fighting."
Experts say flu viruses spread by droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. Those droplets can reach people or objects within six feet of you.
"The flu virus can live on inanimate objects. You know, your table, the beds and stuff for about 24 hours,” said Chase.
If you have to visit, "We ask that you wear a mask and do great, excellent hand hygiene. Whether that's hand sanitizer or washing your hands. We want you to do that both while you're in the hospital and certainly even at home,” Chase shared.
Doctors say washing your hands is the best way to stay healthy during flu season.
Chase said, "We've put up, we call them sneeze stations, around the elevators, around entry points throughout the hospital, and that has masks, Kleenexes and hand sanitizer."
Again, the best way to prevent it from spreading is constantly using hand sanitizer or soap and water. Make sure you wash your hands for about 30 seconds, that way you cover all surfaces of your hands and in between your fingers.