Widespread flu activity prompts Marion County hospital to temporarily restrict visitors

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MARION COUNTY, Ind. – All hospitals in Marion County will begin temporarily restricting visitors starting no later than Friday in response to the rising flu activity.

The temporary restrictions include, but are not limited to:

  • No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
  • No visitors under the age of 18.
  • Visitors limited to immediate family as identified by the patient.

Visitors are encouraged to check a health care facility’s website or call in advance about its restrictions and any exceptions.

Just last week, the Indiana Department of Public Health said flu activity is now “high” and “widespread” across the state.

The number of states reporting high influenza-like illness has increased sharply recently. Thirteen flu-related deaths have been reported nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. Severe complications of influenza infection include pneumonia which can lead to hospitalization and death.

Individuals who are at the highest risk for experiencing complications of influenza include:

  • Children less than two years old and adults older than 65.
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised.
  • Individuals with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, hematological, and metabolic disorders.
  • Individuals who are obese.
  • Women who are pregnant or during the first two weeks after giving birth.

The most effective way to protect against the flu is to get a dose of seasonal flu vaccine. Other recommendations to decrease the risk of spreading flu include coughing into your shirt sleeve and washing hands frequently and thoroughly. People who suspect they are infected with influenza should stay home from work or school and seek evaluation by a medical provider.

The Marion County Public Health Department offers low-cost flu vaccine at its district health offices. Flu shots are $20 for everyone age 2 and older. Children under 2 years old are free. For district health office locations and hours, call the Marion County Public Health Department’s immunization program at (317) 221-2121 or visit MarionHealth.org.

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