Special to the Journal
ALBANY, Ga. – With flu season now upon South Georgia, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is working to protect patients, staff and the public by limiting access to patient areas. Phoebe officials are asking those not actively involved in caregiving to avoid visits to the hospital.
“The signs are that we are going to have a substantial flu season and we’ve already seen a number of cases in the hospital,” says Dr. Doug Patten, chief medical officer at Phoebe. “We take every precaution possible to protect our patients, visitors, and staff from the flu virus. While sometimes it is in the best interest of our patients to receive visitors, most people understand that during flu season, it is better to place a phone call or drop a note in the mail, rather than risk receiving or spreading the virus to someone with a compromised immune system – or to someone caring for patients.”
The precautions posted at the hospital specifically warn the following “at risk” groups:
• Pregnant women,
• Anyone with a chronic medical condition,
• People over 65,
• Children, adolescents or college students.
Every year the influenza virus makes its mark on the United States in the fall, usually in October or November, and runs its course by early spring, impacting millions of people across the country.
Dr. Patten also notes that everyone in the community can take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. “It is not too late to get a flu vaccine. Practicing cough and sneeze etiquette is imperative, and most importantly, people must remember to use hand hygiene all the time.”