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    Posted: September 28 2009 at 8:20am
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Southeastern Regional Medical Center limits visitation due to increased flu activity

January 28, 2011

Due to a marked increase in flu activity since early January (428 medical center and emergency department patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms with 30 confirmed cases of Influenza A and 10 confirmed cases of Influenza B), Southeastern Regional Medical Center is implementing stricter visitation guidelines effective immediately: 

o        No one under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit any area of the medical center.

o        Only one immediate family member (spouse, child, sibling or parent) will be allowed per visit. General visiting hours are from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

o        Any individual entering the emergency department with flu-like symptoms, including muscle aches, fever, headachesore throat, coughing or vomiting, will be asked to wear a mask while in any area of the department.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center is urging individuals who are not in need of medical care to refrain from visiting the main campus, including the emergency department, except in extreme cases of life or death. In order to limit the spread of the influenza virus, restrictions are needed to reduce exposure to those who may have the potential to spread the virus. 

If friends or loved ones wish to contact individuals who are patients at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, they are encouraged to call, mail cards or letters, or send electronic cards.

o        Most patients can be reached by calling 671-5000 and asking for the patient by name. Please be aware of patients' need to rest by limiting phone calls during evening hours.

o        Letters or cards can be addressed to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Patient Name, Room Number, PO Box 1408, Lumberton, NC, 28359.

o        Electronic cards can be sent via Southeastern's website at www.srmc.org/card. Every effort will be made to deliver the electronic cards in a timely manner.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center understands the concerns of family members and friends for those who are hospitalized, however, our efforts are intended to minimize the spread of this extremely contagious virus. 

In order to prevent acquiring the flu, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm): 

Take time to get a flu vaccine

o        CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

o        While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.

o        The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.

o        Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available.

o        People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

o        Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.

o        Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.

o        Children younger than six months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead. 

 Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

o        Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

o        Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

o        Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

o        Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

o        If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

o        While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. 

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

o        If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.

o        Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

o        Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

o        It is very important that antiviral drugs be used early (within the first two days of symptoms) to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and who are at increased risk of severe flu illness, such as pregnant women, young children, people 65 and older and people with certain chronic health conditions.

o        Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.  

Flu vaccines are available at Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s primary care clinics. Requirements for appointments and hours for walk-ins vary from clinic to clinic, so it is recommended that individuals call the clinic nearest them for vaccine administration times. For a list of clinics, logon to www.srmc.org/clinics or call 671-5577.

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