Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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January 17, 2013

Flu season busier than normal

Security precautions being implemented

Greensburg — Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) will be enforcing new visitation restrictions in light of the increased flu season, effective Saturday, Jan. 19.

No visitors with flu-like symptoms, except in the case that the individual is visiting the emergency room, will be allowed into the hospital, according to Rosie Stier, head infection control nurse. Sick individuals may be asked to wear a mask.

No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed in the hospital without prior special arrangements; People already in the hospital will only be able to receive visitors who are immediate family, partners, or significant others.

Every case will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Stier said the OB clinic will have their own set of rules, and should be contacted in the event of questions at 812-663-4331.

David Fry, DCMH director of community relations, said the new rules will be implemented, “Because of the extent of the flu illness, and we have a duty to protect our patients, so we don’t want to take any extra risks where they’re concerned.”

The Health Department is offering vaccinations from 2 to 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday vaccines are reserved for children. If times are not convenient, Sue Colley of the Decatur County Health Department, said the department is willing to make an appointment for a different time.

At the Medical Arts Plaza, free vaccines are being offered from 2 to 6 p.m. Stier said people may want to make an appointment first by calling 812-222-0422.

“The Health Department is not having a shortage of vaccines,” encouraged Colley regarding the Health Department.

Stier said 90 percent of flu cases have involved a strain of the virus that is included in this year’s flu shot.

Twenty-seven flu-related deaths have been reported in the State of Indiana.

“Greensburg is merely seeing a busier season”, according to Colley, “We’re not in a state of emergency.”

“There are just years where the flu season is bad, and years where it isn’t,” said Stier about the unusually high number of illnesses this year.

Colley felt that because the last two years have not seen many flu cases, some people have neglected to get their flu shot, and now the virus is affecting people full-force.

Unable to provide statistics, Colley reported that the season is definitely marked with more cases, and seems to be affecting the elderly population of Decatur County more than the young.

Stier confirmed that many of those affected are the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and children under six months of age who are too young to receive the flu vaccine.

“Parents should get a vaccine to protect those infants,” said Stier.

Precautions are easy enough to take, according to Stier and Colley.

Wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and don’t touch your face; sneeze into your arm or elbow instead of your hands; build your immune system by sleeping and eating well and exercising.

Colley reminded people to be aware that if a person has been around another who is sick, that person may not feel the effects for up to five days.

If flu symptoms are caught early, a person can receive anti-viral medicine for up to two days.

Flu symptoms include body aches, fever, chills, coughing and sneezing.

Once a person is sick, the best advice is to stay home, take fever reducers, drink plenty of fluids and don’t touch your face.

Stier pleaded with the sick to stay home and not infect people who are healthy or vulnerable, and if a person absolutely must leave the home, to please wash their hands often.

For general questions, Rosie Stier can be contacted at 812-663-1310.

The Health Department is located at 801 North Lincoln Street, and the Medical Arts Plaza is located on 955 North Michigan Avenue.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004

 

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