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Effective Thursday, January 10, Carolinas HealthCare System is restricting visitors under the age of 12 at all of its Greater Charlotte area in-patient hospitals. The tighter restrictions are a result of the growing prevalence of flu cases in the region. Previously, restrictions for children under 12 applied only to neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.
Hospitals affected by the tighter visitation policy are: Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville, Carolinas Medical Center-Union, Carolinas Medical Center-University, Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, Carolinas Medical Center-Randolph, Carolinas Rehabilitation, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mercy, and Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mount Holly.
Also, Carolinas HealthCare System is asking individuals of all ages who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to help control the spread of the illness by not visiting patients in the hospital. Symptoms include: fever, headaches/body aches/pain, cough or sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
If extraordinary circumstances require an individual with flu-like symptoms to visit a hospital patient, the visitor will be asked to wear a surgical mask to protect themselves and others.
Carolinas HealthCare System emergency departments are seeing a higher incidence of patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Comparing the last week in December 2011 to the same week in 2012, the number of such emergency department visits grew from 371 to 1,023.
To reduce the odds of getting the flu, Carolinas HealthCare System recommends frequent hand washing with soap or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and getting a flu shot. If experiencing symptoms of the flu, people should stay home to prevent its spread. Flu sufferers should rest, drink fluids and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce minor pain or fever.