January 10, 2013

Harrington Hospital Bars Visits by Children During Flu Season

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., January 10, 2013 -- Harrington Hospital is taking additional steps to protect its patients from the flu.

Children 16 and under will not be allowed to visit patients at Harrington Hospital beginning Monday, January14. In addition, each patient will be limited to two healthy visitors at a time.

"Flu season is upon us and, as always, the safety of our patients is of primary concern to us," said Harrington HealthCare System President and CEO Edward H. Moore. "The flu is a very serious illness, and this is one of the most severe flu seasons we have seen in this region in several years.

"It's not too late to get a flu vaccination," Moore said. "Flu season typically peaks in the winter and can last until spring."

According to a recent weekly advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts is one of 29 states reporting high levels of "influenza-like illness."

Visitors at Harrington Hospital will be required to check in at the main lobby and receive a visitor's pass. People with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to stay home.
Harrington's policy does not prevent children from being admitted to the hospital, going to the Emergency Department, or from keeping their appointments at Harrington facilities or physician offices.

Signs announcing the flu visitation policy will be posted throughout the hospital.

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and headache. Those with the flu can be contagious before they exhibit signs of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people infected with the flu virus are contagious one day before getting sick to approximately one week after getting sick. This can be longer in some people, especially children and those with weakened immune systems.

For more information about the flu, please go to: flu.gov.