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News: Centegra implements visitor restrictions at hospitals for flu season

Centegra Health System is experiencing increased cases of influenza and flu-related hospitalizations. For the safety of hospital patients and visitors during this flu season, Centegra administrators are asking for cooperation in implementing a visitor restriction policy.

Effective Thursday, Jan. 9, the policy includes no visitors under the age of 14 years old on any unit and limited visitation to immediate family members over the age of 14 in obstetrics and pediatrics. There also will be a limit of two visitors per patient at a time on all units.

Those who are feeling sick with a runny nose, sore throat, or fever, should not visit friends or loved ones in the hospital. Hospital visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Those with a cold are asked to wear a mask if they are coughing or sneezing; cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze; throw tissues in the trash after they are used; wash their hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing; use soap and water or alcohol based hand cleansers; and avoid touching eyes, noses or mouths as germs spread this way.

Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Individuals with mild flu symptoms should follow-up with a primary care physician or Immediate Care facility. Individuals with chronic illness and symptoms of confusion and/or increasing weakness should be seen in the emergency department.

Those who may not develop symptoms themselves may still pass the virus on to others including pregnant women, young children, those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease and people 65 and older who are especially at risk for complications from the flu.

Centegra encourages anyone six months and older to get a flu shot to protect themselves against influenza. The flu season typically runs through May with flu activity peaking this month and into February. Once vaccinated, it takes two weeks for antibodies to develop to provide protection.

Centegra Physician Care and Centegra Immediate Care Centers are offering seasonal flu vaccines. Locations are in Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Huntley, McHenry, Spring Grove and Woodstock. For more information about Centegra Immediate Care or to learn more about this year’s flu vaccine, call 815-338-6600.