Thursday, February 04, 2010
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ALMH resumes regular visitor guidelines as flu cases decline

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[February 04, 2010]  As the number of patients coming to the hospital with influenza-like illnesses has declined, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital is lifting its call for the public to limit their visits and is lifting visitor restrictions to its maternity department and pediatric patients.

InsuranceIn November, in a move to help protect against the spread of influenza-like illnesses in the community, ALMH requested that hospital visits be limited to spouses, partners and other family members 18 years of age and older. The voluntary request applied to those visiting inpatients or accompanying outpatients for tests, treatments or procedures.

The hospital also took the further precaution to restrict anyone who was less than 18 years old from visiting its maternity department or pediatric patients. In addition, adult visitors who came to the hospital with symptoms of influenza-like illness were not permitted to visit the maternity department or pediatric patients.


"We continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of influenza-like illness in our community and may reinstate our voluntary call to limit visitors or put into place other changes to ensure the health and safety of our patients, visitors, staff, volunteers and partnering physicians," according to Dolan Dalpoas, ALMH's president and CEO.

"These proactive measures have been consistent with the standard precautions to prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. As we continue through the flu season, we will be ready to put these measures back into place if needed."

"While all affiliates of Memorial Health System realized increased patient volumes from the flu season, that increase did not adversely impact operations, and all facilities operated effectively," said Doug Rahn, Memorial Health System's senior vice president and chief operating officer. "Our physicians and employees spent a great deal of time planning and preparing for this flu season."

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The health system's influenza information line, 217-788-H1N1 (4161), will remain active to answer the public's frequently asked questions about seasonal and H1N1 influenza.

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, Dalpoas said you should stay home and avoid contact with others except to get medical care. Most people with H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs, and the same is true of seasonal flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms of influenza-like illness include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.

[Text from file received from Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital]

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