In response to a state health official's advisory about the flu, a Buffalo-area hospital system is announcing a temporary restriction on visitors to its facilities.
In late December, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker declared influenza to be "prevalent" throughout the state. This week, in the midst of a flu season, officials at Catholic Health have announced temporary measures intended to slow the spread of the disease.
"We've asked to limit visitors to our hospitals and long-term care facilities to individuals who are ages 14 and older," said Catholic Health Chief Medical Officer Brian D'Arcy. "And, we ask that people who are eligible to visit, if they have symptoms such as cough or fever that would be suggestive of a viral illness, that they also refrain from visiting."
Catholic Health has imposed these restrictions in past years and D'Arcy says there's no cause for alarm. They are, as he explained, meant to protect both the patients and those who visit.
This year's flu, he suggests, is active but no more widespread than in past years. D'Arcy recommends any individuals who have not yet received a flu shot get one as soon as possible.
If an individual feels flu-like symptoms, Catholic Health officials recommend that person seek treatment as soon as possible from a primary doctor, rather than come to an emergency room.
"If you get sick, it's good to get treated. You really want to start the therapy within the first day or two of being symptomatic," D'Arcy said.
More information about Catholic Health's visitor restriction can be found here.