To protect patients and the community during flu season, Cobleskill Regional Hospital is putting into effect temporary new rules for patient visitors.
For the duration of the flu season, only two visitors at a time will be allowed in the rooms of patients and no one under age 13 will be permitted to visit patients.
As always, any person who is experiencing fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, rash, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting should refrain from visiting.
"These restrictions are the same as those being put into effect in other area hospitals," explains Cobleskill Regional Hospital president and CEO Eric Stein.
"The state health commissioner recently announced that reported cases of influenza are increasing throughout New York, and flu activity is now considered to be widespread. In response, we must put the safety of our patients first, and we trust that people will understand and respect these temporary new restrictions on visitors."
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza.
People can also become infected by touching a surface or object with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
The virus can survive on a hard surface for as long as 48 hours and on paper or cloth for 12 hours.
In order to combat spread of flu inside the hospital, CRH is also using a number of preventative measures, including strict hand washing practices, hand sanitizer and mask dispensers at entrances, and a vaccination program for employees.
"We encourage all visitors to use hand sanitizer when entering and leaving the hospital," advised Joan Miller, R.N., the hospital's senior director of quality resources. "One of the best defenses is good hygiene."
Signs are being posted at hospital entrances to inform visitors about the new rules for visitors and to direct people to hand-sanitizing stations.
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What you can do to prevent the flu:
• Get the flu vaccine.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, it's recommended you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone or seven days after the onset of symptoms.