Only immediate family and no one under 15 will be permited to visit patients at acommunity hospital

Hillsboro's Tuality Community Hospital has announced restrictions for visitors to its medical centers in the wake of a harsh flu season sweeping the country.

This week, the hospital announced that it would only allow immediate family members to visit patients, and no visitors will be permitted under the age of 15, according to Tuality Healthcare spokeswoman Lindsay Coon. Patients with flu symptoms are asked to use a mask while in the hospital.

The country is in the midst of one of the most severe flu seasons in years. Emergency rooms across the region are overcrowded with people with flu-like symptoms, Coon said.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people being treated for the disease has risen nearly 6 percent, and the rate at which Americans are being hospitalized from the disease has doubled.

The strain of flu being seen across the country is largely vaccine-resistant, with only a 30 percent effectiveness rate, the CDC said, though health officials are urging people to get vaccinated, arguing that vaccines may help if other strains of the flu become more common, among other benefits.

"The (flu) season can last for several months, and the vaccine can take two weeks to be effective," Coon said. "A flu shot can shorten the length of illness, even if the vaccine does not cover the circulating strain completely."

Symptoms of the flu include fever and either a cough or sore throat. If you believe you may have the flu, Coon said to call your health care provider before coming into the emergency room.

More serious symptoms of the flu include confusion, difficulty waking or breathing, pressure in the chest or abdomen, blue lips or skin rash and an inability to drink or keep liquids down. People experiencing these symptoms are asked to call 911, Coon said.

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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