Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu

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Castleview Hospital Press Release By Terri Watkins, Chief Nursing Officer

Flu season is officially upon us. There are high levels of influenza-related illness across the country right now. In the state of Utah, there have been 889 positive influenza cases this flu-season and a rate of 31.1.

We all have important roles to play in preventing the spread of influenza in our community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a three-part approach to fighting the flu:

1. Get vaccinated. If you have not gotten your annual flu vaccine, get one now. A flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older. While most of the flu viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination is still your best form of protection and might reduce severe outcomes associated with the flu, including hospitalization and death.

2. Take measures to prevent the spread of germs, including:
• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and if you become ill, keeping your distance from others.
• Staying home when you are sick and keeping sick children home from school.
• Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or into the sleeve of your shirt (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
• Washing your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Practicing good health habits. This includes getting plenty of sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.
• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones and keypads, particularly when you or those around you are ill.

3. Take antiviral medications for influenza as directed by your doctor. If you or a loved one begins to notice symptoms of the flu, including coughing, sore throat, fever or upper respiratory infection, please see your doctor right away. Early detection is especially important for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues. When detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days.

Castleview Hospital is taking several measures to prevent the flu from spreading. These include:
• Limiting hospital visitation. While influenza levels are elevated, we ask that children under the age of 12 do not visit the hospital. In addition, routine visitation is limited to two visitors per patient until further notice.
• Providing masks to all visitors and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms.
• Setting up stations throughout the facility stocked with tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
• Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors who have not done so already to get their flu shot.
• Providing educational material to all visitors about everyday preventative actions. Please contact our Infection Prevention Department for more information at ext. 4520.

At Castleview Hospital, our mission is to make our community healthier. During flu season and year-round, we are here to respond to your healthcare needs by providing top quality care close to home. If you have any questions or concerns about this year’s flu season, our dedicated medical staff can help. Simply call (435) 637-4800 or visit castleviewhospital.net

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