Flu Prompts Changes in NorthCrest Medical Center’s Visitation Policy

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (September 16, 2009) – Due to the presence of the H1N1 flu in the community, the visitation policy at NorthCrest Medical Center has changed, according to hospital officials.

Effective immediately, children under the age of 16 are prohibited from entering the patient care areas of the hospital. At this time, children in this age range represent the majority of those having the flu and flu-like symptoms; therefore, in the best interest of the patients, this restriction has been added to the visitation policy.

NorthCrest Emergency Department Director Laura Zervas is also instructing individuals who have any flu-like symptoms to follow these guidelines when coming to the emergency department.

“Those individuals with flu-like symptoms will enter through the regular entrance of the emergency department and stop at the flu station to put a mask on, sanitize their hands and get tissue,” Zervas said. “If you are accompanying someone with the symptoms, you should do the same and then proceed to the registrations window, then to the designated flu waiting area.”

Flu-like symptoms include coughing, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and fever.

Hospital officials also remind everyone that the best protection against the flu and its spreading is to wash your hands frequently and use cough etiquette. Cough etiquette is to cover your mouth when you cough, preferably with a tissue that you promptly throw away. Then wash or sanitize your hands. If no tissue or sanitizer is available, cover your mouth with your upper arm rather than your hand. Also, keeping 6 feet from someone who is coughing is another precaution.

The Tennessee Department of Health is partnering with the Tennessee Poison Center to provide a free Flu Information Line for all Tennessee residents. The number is 1-877-252-3432. Information will be available weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The time may be varied according to the number of calls received. Information will be available for English and non-English speakers. The Tennessee Department of Health will be publishing the Information line number statewide and hope that you will pass information about this resource along to others.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact your physician or health care professional.