ST. GEORGE – Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George is restricting visiting privileges at its 400 East campus to those ages 14 and older due to an increase in flu-like illnesses in Utah.
“At Dixie Regional, because we have two campuses, our tiniest, most vulnerable premature babies are in the delivery unit,” hospital spokesman Terri Draper said, “so we are restricting those visitors currently but we’re only restricting visitors of those ages to the 400 East campus. That’s not to say that as the season progresses and things get worse that we won’t change that policy. But for today, that’s what we’re doing.”
Flu outbreaks in Southern Utah are at a “moderate” level, according to Intermountain Healthcare’s website. The flu season usually lasts around four or five months, Southwest Utah Public Health Department spokesman David Heaton said. In St. George, flu season peaks around February and tends to fade out around March or April.
“We do find that sometimes kids, just because they’re around a lot of other kids at school, … become a more common carrier of these types of diseases during cold and flu season,” Heaton said. “Vaccination is still our best defense. It’s not perfect, but it reduces your chances quite a bit.”
Additional recommendations Heaton gave include frequent hand washing with soap and water if you’ve been out in public spaces, and the use of hand sanitizer if you’re not around soap and water; and if people are sick, they ought stay home from work and any social events if possible.
In Southern Utah, there have been 9 cases of hospitalization due to the flu this year. If you do have the flu, you could be in bed for one or two weeks including body aches and fevers, Heaton said. The flu is still one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, it’s the last contagious disease still on the top-10 list.
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- Dixie Regional issues advisory on visitation during flu season
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