To protect pediatric patients, mothers and newborns from flu viruses circulating in our region, all Samaritan Health Services hospitals will limit visitors in birthing centers, beginning Thursday, Jan. 4. The restrictions will remain in place until the flu season is over.
Each new mom and pediatric patient will be allowed a total of four visitors during their hospital stay, and no visitors under the age of 12 will be allowed in the birthing centers or pediatric units unless they are a healthy sibling of a newborn or pediatric patient. This means four designated visitors throughout the entire hospital stay, not simply four at a time. The designated support people need to be free of flu symptoms and carefully follow infection control guidelines, such as hand washing.
Pregnant women and children are among those in high-risk categories for complications from influenza-like illnesses, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control. Limiting visitors to hospital birthing centers and pediatric units reduces the potential for exposure for this vulnerable population.
The best defense against flu viruses, both at hospitals and in the community, is to avoid exposure through the following basic hygiene and infection control measures:
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve.
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and regularly, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs are spread.
- Get your seasonal flu shot. The vaccine remains the best way to prevent influenza illness for ourselves, our families, and our patients (subject to availability).
- If you are sick, stay home.
For basic information about the flu, visit the Oregon Department of Human Services’ flu prevention website at flu.oregon.gov.