In the middle of December the CDC changed Illinois’ status from regional to widespread.
Heartland Regional Medical Center, SIH hospitals and SSM hospitals have temporarily changed their visitation recommendations to protect patients, staff and visitors from influenza.
They are requesting that anyone with flu like symptoms to not visit patients until they are fully recovered, no more than 2 visitors at a time and no visitors under 18.
They also reccommend taking advantage of wellness stations inside the hospitals that provide sanitizer, face masks and tissue.
Proper hygiene like washing hands, covering a cough and staying home if your showing flu like syptoms are great ways to prevent the spread of influenza.
SSM Infection Prevention Nurse Debra Manning says this request came from a higher than usual increase in test positive for influenza over the last 10 days.
Manning says there is treatment but you need to act fast.
“The best way to prevent the more severe symptoms is to get treatment with an antiviral within a couple of days, after that it doesn’t tend to work as well, so that’s why if your having a high fever or respiratory symptoms, you know you’ve been around someone with a flu is go ahead and contact your provider.”
Manning suggest calling your provider first to see if an office visit is necessary in order to prevent the spread of the flu.
Manning also encourages anyone who has not yet received a flu vaccine this season to get one because it will lessen the severity of the virus.
“Often times when you take the flu vaccine consistently it will lessen the severity of your symptoms so that’s why we advise even though in a year that there is a mismatch to go ahead and have your flu vaccine because it can lessen the severity and the length of the symptoms.”
The vaccines are produced based on what strains are currently circulating around the world.
The mis match happens when the influenza virus changes as a survival mechanism, which makes some vaccines not as effective.