Hospitals in Montgomery County, Maryland, are not letting visitors with symptoms of the flu to enter in order to protect patients, staff and other visitors, health officials said.
“The flu epidemic that we're having right now, we've had several case fatalities in D.C. and Montgomery County from people with the flu,” Holy Cross emergency room attending physician Dr. Patrick Murphy said.
People who have severe flu symptoms and are unable to control them a home should seek treatment at the county’s six hospitals, but otherwise, visitors are encouraged to stay away during the flu epidemic.
“If somebody comes into the emergency room or comes to the hospital to visit patients here who has flu symptoms who has fever, cough, runny nose, we would ask that they not visit the hospital right now,” Murphy said.
Children 12 years old and younger will only be allowed in hospitals in emergencies.
If someone with flu-like symptoms must be at the facility, they will need to use hand sanitizers, tissues and wear masks to protect patients and hospital staff from the flu.
The Montgomery County Health Department says it's not too late to get a flu shot and advises preventing spread of the flu by frequently washing hands with soap and water, covering coughing and sneezing with tissues, drinking plenty of liquids if feverish, and staying home for 24 hours after fever breaks without aid of fever-reducing medicine.