Children's Hospital Central California has an important message for visitors and patient families – leave extra people at home. In an effort to prevent transmission of colds and flu the hospital is limiting visitors and people who can stay with patients.
“It’s not unusual for people to bring the patient’s siblings, aunts or uncles, friends or other people with them when they come to visit our patient, or even when they bring their child to our Emergency Department,’ said Dr. David Pugatch, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at Children’s Hospital. “But really, that’s not the optimum situation. They may bring in germs that infect patients and healthy kids can be exposed to cold and flu viruses here.”
Children’s has already implemented their standard cold and flu season visitor restrictions early this year as a response to rising cases of influenza in the community. This means that no children under 12 are allowed to visit the hospital unless they are patients and everyone coming in is screened for cough and fever. Now they are also limiting the number of caregivers that can accompany any patient to just two people.
Children’s acknowledges the temporary policy may be difficult for some people. “We know that some families have no other options, but we also know that some families choose to bring additional children and adults with them, for whatever reason. We are asking them to leave those people home. It’s all in the best interest of their health, as well as that of our patients, staff, and volunteers,:” said Dr. Pugatch
Dr. Pugatch says the situation can become especially critical in the Emergency Department waiting area. “First, there are sick kids in there. Why bring your healthy children and family in and expose them to germs? It’s just not a good idea. Secondly, the space itself is limited and we see a large number of patients in the winter months. We really do need all the available seating space for those patients and their parents.” He also added that in times of very high use during the winter months, Children’s staff may have to limit each child to having just one parent with them in the waiting area or exam rooms.
Children’s Hospital stresses this policy is only temporary. It is expected to be in affect until the end of the traditional cold and flu season in the early spring, usually around the end of March.
Web site Resources
H1N1 Flu Information from the CDC
Children's Hospital Flu Information
CDC En Espanol
CDC Flu Tracker
World Health Organization H1N1
American Academy of Pediatrics
Fresno County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Madera County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Kings County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Tulare County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Kern County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Merced County H1N1 Flu Web Site
Stanislaus County H1N1 Flu Web Site