How to be a good visitor during flu season
Keeping your loved ones healthy during their healthcare stay is a priority. If you’re visiting a friend or family member, it’s important to be a good visitor and employ the basic principles of infection prevention. This is especially true during flu season.
According to the CDC, influenza (the flu) is a serious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illnesses. Seasonal influenza activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. The flu is associated with approximately 200,000 hospital admissions, and as many as 49,000 deaths annually in the United States. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.
In order to prevent the spread of the flu and other illnesses, most healthcare facilities have policies in place that limit visitors during the flu season. Often times, these policies prohibit visitors who are 12 years of age and younger. This is because children often carry viruses without exhibiting any signs or symptoms of illness.
Who is vulnerable to illness?
Although everyone is a healthcare patient at one point or another in their lives, some are at a higher risk of getting sick when they’re exposed to illness, including:
•People aged 65 years and older
•People who are immunocompromised such as those with HIV, hepatitis, and cancer
•People who live with, or care for, the immunocompromised or elderly
•People who have chronic medical conditions such as, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease