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Duke University Health System restricting hospital visits

Posted December 26, 2012

— Duke University Health System says it is restricting patient visits at its hospitals and facilities as a result of a sharp rise of influenza infections in the Triangle.

Effective Wednesday afternoon, visits at the system's three hospitals and two ambulatory surgical centers will be limited to immediate family and designated caregivers over age 18 who have no fever, cough or flu-like symptoms.

In addition, patients will be allowed to receive no more than two visitors at a time.

"The restrictions are part of a multi-step approach to protect patients and prevent the spread of influenza at Duke University Hospital, Durham Regional and Duke Raleigh hospitals, as well as the Duke Ambulatory Surgical Center and the James E. Davis Ambulatory Surgical Center," according to a statement released Wednesday.

It goes on to urge visitors with flu-like symptoms to stay at home and for those who do visit to wash their hands frequently while in the building, including when they enter and leave.

Restrictions are temporary and will be reviewed as the state’s flu outbreak diminishes, the health system said.

Duke is the latest hospital across the state to restrict visits since flu activity has reached the highest level in the past decade.

Flu outbreaks are being reported in schools and long-term care facilities statewide. Officials say the flu is especially dangerous for pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly.

Since October, 12 people have died from the flu. Nine of the 12 people who died were older than 64. The other three were between 24 and 64 years old.

State Health Director Laura Gerald said last week that it's unusual to see so many deaths this early in the season.

She strongly encourages anyone over six months old to get a flu vaccination. It takes about two weeks for people to develop immunity after getting the vaccination.

9 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew Dec 27, 4:39 p.m.

    Getting the flu vaccine guarantees nothing and protects no one. Whether or not the person providing some sort of medical care is sick or not, is purely a matter of luck of the draw.

  • heelsgirl05 Dec 27, 1:43 p.m.

    Homeward- I am a Nurse too, and I am not a lazy one. Scubagirl-uproar may have been a little dramatic, but i made TrulyAmerican and some other person that said she worked at the states busiest ER where 90% of her staff is immunized really mad. the ER lady said "Most Nurses care enough about their patients and themselves enough to get a flu shot." the other guy went on some rant and said that I didnt pay attention in nursing school and that I would kill someone one day because I didnt get it.

  • Kelondris Dec 27, 11:01 a.m.

    It works for some and not for others. Every time I got a flu shot, I ended up getting the flu. Whenever I have not gotten it, I do not get the flu. So in my case, not getting it works better for me. Not sure why it works that way for me, but it does. You just have to figure out if it is rational for you to get it. But as it has been said: wash your hands, use sanitizer and avoid as much as possible others that are sneezing and cough.

  • Scubagirl Dec 27, 9:26 a.m.

    as opposed to heelsgirl thinking raleighlynn is spot on, Homeward is the one who is spot on! Lazy is the key word here

  • Homeward Dec 26, 7:31 p.m.

    The benefits to yourself and others by getting the flu shot far outweigh the extremely infinitesimal risks to anybody FROM the shot. I'm tired of people pretending their opinion is FACT, regardless of where they work, when they simply are too lazy to review the health data themselves. The flu shot is statistically an overwhelming life-saver (vs. not getting it), period!

  • Scubagirl Dec 26, 5:54 p.m.

    heelsgirl05 you are being a bit dramatic in your retelling of the responses you got, but that's ok you go ahead. Not ALL registered nurses think alike, not all get the flu shot but working in an ICU it was MY responsibility to make certain I did not make my patients sicker. I did that using good hygiene, good hand washing AND getting various shots (flu, Hepatitis, and several others) to protect both me and them. Never hurts to be protected

  • heelsgirl05 Dec 26, 5:31 p.m.

    Raleighlynn, spot on! people do not necessarily get "the flu" from the shot, but I have heard many who had flu like symptoms after. I was resistant to getting mine as well for the same reasons you stated-not necessarily being covered, and performing hand hygiene helping with the chain of infection (which caused an UPROAR for some people on this site, pretty much said I dont care about my patients and they would DIE because I didnt get it), but I did get one this season just for a little added protection. a day after I got it I felt weak and looked pale as a ghost! WASH WASH WASH, COVER COVER COVER, and if you feel sick, STAY HOME!

  • raleighlynn Dec 26, 4:59 p.m.

    Kudos to DUMC for restricting visitation. Doctors, nurses and other patient care folks need to wash hands and use hand sanitizer. As far as flu shots, keep in mind that the powers that be guess which of many flu strains might be prevalent during the coming winter, and flu shots are fashioned in that manner. Not all strains of the flu are covered, not by a long shot. People have been sick and even died as a result of the flu shot itself, so think before you subject yourself to that needle. Wash hands, carry sanitizer wipes for hands and shopping carts, and stay at least six feet away from anyone sneezing and coughing. Eat well, keep your immune system working, and get plenty of rest. This from (me) a registered nurse who doesn't walk in lockstep with the "get a flu shot, you'll be fine" party line.

  • quikdraw2 Dec 26, 4:52 p.m.

    about time....