Influenza Season Declared in NYS Bassett Medical Center Modifies Birthing Center Visitation Guidelines
January 10, 2017
Cooperstown, NY – With flu season upon us, Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown is modifying its visitation policy at the Bassett Birthing Center and on the hospital’s pediatric unit. While influenza season is underway, only the birthing coach, parents, grandparents and siblings of the baby or pediatric patient may visit, as long as they are healthy.
“Newborns and young children are among our most vulnerable patients and at greater risk for complications from the flu,” notes Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Philip Heavner. “Limiting visitation to parents, grandparents and siblings is in the best interest of our patients, their loved ones and our staff.”
Each year, 30,000 people die from influenza infection and its complications, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized. The flu vaccine remains the best option to reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus. For this reason, Bassett Medical Center urges individuals to be vaccinated against the flu and in accordance with New York State regulations, requires staff to be vaccinated or wear a surgical mask to protect against contracting or spreading influenza.
“As an institution providing medical care for people already ill, it is our responsibility to protect our patients, visitors and colleagues from contracting the flu and to be available to our patients to provide care,” said Kevin Sullivan, RN, infection prevention specialist. “In addition, we are reminding patients and their families that people should not visit the inpatient floors if they feel ill.” Sullivan says Bassett Healthcare Network has seen only a handful of confirmed cases of influenza so far this season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. In addition to getting vaccinated, there are simple, but effective preventive measures to protect against the flu like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. Anyone sick with flu should stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.
Signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone will experience a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
For more information about preventing the flu and its prevalence this season, visit www.health.ny.gov/ or www.cdc.gov/flu/.
To learn more about services available throughout the Bassett Healthcare Network, visit www.bassett.org. Follow Bassett on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/Bassett.Network and twitter.com/BassettNetwork.