LEWES, Del.- With the number of flu cases climbing in Sussex County, Beebe Healthcare is establishing a temporary visitor policy in which children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit patients. The restriction begins Saturday, March 12.
Children visitors under the age of 16 cannot go upstairs to the patient areas, nor can they be left alone in the waiting areas downstairs, Beebe officials said..
According to officials, the decision was made to protect the health and safety of children and patients. Officials said children and teens younger than 16 are at a greater risk for flu complications and remain contagious longer than adults. Officials said that while most people with flu experience a mild illness and don’t need medical care, those with chronic illnesses, such as many of Beebe's patients, are at a high risk for developing complications, such as pneumonia. Flu is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults, officials said.
Beebe is also advising:
- If you have flu-related symptoms (fever greater than 100 degrees, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, nausea or vomiting), do not visit the hospital, unless you are seeking treatment for yourself.
- If you are visiting a hospital, you may be asked to wear an isolation mask.
- Cough or sneeze into your inner elbow and not into your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. If you touch a potentially contaminated surface with your hand, you can easily spread a virus to yourself by touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
- If you can do it comfortably, wear an isolation mask if you must be around others who may already have the flu.
- If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, Beebe is encouraging you to stay at home until you recover fully. However, seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms become severe and you experience any of the following: Difficulty breathing or chest pain; discoloration of your lips; vomiting and regurgitation of liquids; seizures; confusion or lack of responsiveness; dehydration; absence of urination; or dizziness while standing.
Beebe said it will lift this policy as soon as the concerns about the spread of the flu are over.