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St. Francis requesting public to limit visits

ESCANABA — To protect patients, family members and staff during this time of increased seasonal flu activity and other upper respiratory illnesses, OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group is asking the public to limit visits as a precautionary measure.

“The number of positive influenza cases has been increasing and we are seeing an even larger increase in the number of upper respiratory illnesses. Symptoms are similar to those of influenza and the viruses are just as contagious,” explained Nicole Pirlot, infection preventionist at OSF St. Francis Hospital. “We have also seen cases of RSV in small children and would like to remind people not to touch the hands or face of small children and infants, even if you are not actively sick. These viruses can be very dangerous for little ones.”

Additionally, the following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are requested effective today.

– Visitors should be at least 18 years of age and older. This will minimize exposure of patients to children, who are known to be high risk for transmission of viral infections, and will protect children from contracting an illness while visiting the hospital.  

– Please do not visit hospitalized patients if you are not feeling well, particularly if you have had flu-like symptoms during the past seven days. Symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and/or sore throat. 

– Remember to cough and/or sneeze into your arm or shoulder or use a tissue. The spread of germs can be reduced by coughing into your clothing. Avoid covering your mouth with your hands, as the germs can easily be passed through direct contact with surfaces or people. 

To assist in limiting the spread of disease, please wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand foam/gel when entering and leaving a patient’s room. Masks, hand sanitizer and tissues are located in each of the clinics and nursing units. Patients are strongly encouraged to use these infection prevention items when visiting the hospital or medical group during this time of increased respiratory illness and influenza activity.

For tips on staying healthy during flu season, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

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