We are approching the height of flu season, and some area hospitals have implemented visitor restrictions. With 437 laboratory confirmed cases in Monroe County, with an actual number likely higher than that, Rochester General, UR, and Unity Hospital in Greece are hoping to limit the spread of flu to patients.
The flu is a contagious viral illness characterized by fever, body aches, cough and fatigue. It is most serious for children under two, people over 65, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions.
Melissa Bronstein, RGH Director of Infection Prevention and Medicine says, “The goal is to reduce the amount of exposures that our patients might get from community members that might be carrying the illness. The tricky thing about the flu is that you may be infected with flu, but you might not have symptoms yet…but you’re able to give flu to someone else, even when you don’t know you have flu yourself.”
Visitors will be limited to no more than two people per patient at a time, visitors must be at least 14 years old, and if you’re sick, even if you’ve been vaccinated, you should stay home. While the number of those infected is smaller than last year, these precautions are still being taken. And as Doctor Paul Graman says, the season is still far from over.
“So, the number of cases is still on the rise, and is going to go higher than it is now. I would say this is a pretty average kind of flu season, it’s not quite as severe as last year,” says Dr. Graman
Dr. Velez de Brown with the County Health Department says the season can last up to another three months. “Our flu season can extend into March, sometimes April, and it’s actually a bit later this year than usual,” adds Velez de Brown.
And if you think it’s too late to still get vaccinated, Dr. Graman says, “No, it is not too late to get the flu shot. People should get the shot as long as there is significant flu out there in the community.
If you’re looking to get your flu shot, many major pharmacies and practices still have the vaccine.