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Over the past week, Halifax Regional Medical Center has seen a spike in documented Influenza cases from across the Roanoke Valley marking the start of flu season and making flu prevention measures extremely important.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Some people such as the elderly, the young, and those with certain health conditions are at a higher risk of serious flu complications.

In response to this increase in flu activity, Halifax Regional is asking community members not to visit the medical center unless you are a patient in need of treatment.

Effective immediately, Halifax Regional has implemented the following visitation restrictions:

Children age 12 and under are not permitted in the medical center unless the child has an appointment or needs medical treatment

Teens and older children are asked not to visit due to the high rate of influenza among those age groups

Pregnant women and adults age 65 and older are discouraged from visiting the medical center

Visitors with any flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) will not be permitted in the medical center

Only one adult will be allowed to accompany a patient in the Emergency Care Center

Visitors should wash their hands before entering a patient room and upon leaving the room. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the hospital in convenient dispensers

Visitors showing any signs of illness themselves should not visit sick patients at the medical center

“As flu season begins, we desire to place the safety of our patients and their family members first and foremost,” said Brenda Vincent, infection prevention nurse.  “Decreasing the risk of exposure to visitors who may be carrying the flu virus is one of the best ways we can accomplish this during flu season.”

If you have not yet received a flu vaccination, it’s not too late as flu shots are still being offered Monday- Saturday at Halifax Works Healthcare Express, 210 Smith Church Road, Roanoke Rapids. Getting vaccinated is the best measure to increase chances of avoiding the flu and decrease the risk of influenza spreading to others.

Flu prevention stations have been set-up at all entrances and are placed throughout the Medical Center. The stations include personal protective equipment, such as hand sanitizer and face masks, to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe.

Basic precautionary measures should be taken as proper hygiene remains the best defense to prevent common viral respiratory diseases. Personal hygiene and prevention of germ-spreading includes:

Frequent hand-washing with soap and water

Cover mouth when coughing and sneezing

Sanitary disposal of discharges from mouth and nose