Widespread Flu in Region Prompts Hospital Visitor Guidance

January 22, 2015

With confirmed flu cases continuing to be widespread in the southeast region of Oklahoma, Mercy Hospital Ada has implemented visitor guidelines beginning today, Thursday, January 22.

“We want to take every precaution in preventing exposure to the flu for our hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Larry Cartmell, medical director of infection prevention control committee at Mercy Hospital Ada. “While the flu can be uncomfortable for all of us, it can cause serious complications for patients whose immune systems are already weakened.”

The hospital is asking visitors to avoid entering patient care areas if they have a medical condition that makes them more susceptible to acquiring influenza, or if they have symptoms of influenza or a respiratory infection.

Common symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose, extreme tiredness and muscle aches.

“Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the flu and a common cold,” Cartmell said. “The best way to know for sure is to see your doctor.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended visitor restrictions nationally as well and suggests getting the flu vaccination if you haven’t done so already. 

A few reminders about getting vaccinated:

  • Everyone over the age of 6 months is recommended to be vaccinated.

  • Even if you got vaccinated last year, it is important to get vaccinated again this year to protect from changing flu viruses.

  • There has been some evidence nationally that a strain of H3N2 has mutated, making this year’s vaccine less effective against that specific virus.

  • Talk to your doctor about getting your vaccine if you have any health concerns.

Beyond vaccination, there are several easy steps to prevent flu:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and then wash your hands with soap as soon as you are able.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs are spread.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without using fever-reducing medicine. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Call your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about the flu.

For additional information about the flu, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/

Media Contacts

Lindsey Treadwell
Ardmore, Healdton, Ada, Tishomingo
Phone: 580-220-6785