SALEM - With the start of this year's flu season, the staff of Salem Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is asking potential visitors to help protect patients from influenza and other highly contagious illnesses by not visiting SRMC if they are sick.
"Across the region, the rate of influenza-like illnesses has increased dramatically, judging from the high volumes of patients seeking care at doctors' offices and the increased number of related hospitalizations," said Lyn Pethtel, BS, SM, RN, CIC; Salem Regional Medical Center's director of quality improvement and infection control.
"Locally, our area is reporting a significant increase in flu and flu-like cases, which are causing fever, respiratory symptoms and diarrhea. While most people recover from these symptoms in a few days, hospitalized patients who become infected with these illnesses may develop significant complications."
SRMC is urging potential visitors, who are sick, to not visit hospitalized patients. Instead, they are requested to telephone the patient or send an e-card via the medical center's website at www.salemhosp.com. Individuals who feel they must visit a patient also can request a mask from the lobby receptionist as they enter the facility.
"We are taking proactive steps to protect our patients," said Pethtel ."Our goal is to limit those at risk from being exposed to the flu."
Seasonal influenza is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. The virus that causes the flu is spread from person to person by droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air, or by handling items contaminated by an infected person, said Pethtel. (Submitted material)