Hays Daily News
By MAGGIE GEBHARDT
Extra precaution is being taken after visitor restrictions were implemented Wednesday at Hays Medical Center.
Due to a highly contagious flu season, visitors displaying symptoms will not be permitted on patient floors within the facility.
“One of the main concerns has been that the vaccine wasn’t as effective as first expected,” said HaysMed Infection Prevention Officer Bevra Brinkman.
Symptoms of influenza including headache, fever, body aches, weakness, sore throat, cough and a runny or stuffy nose are considered dangerous.
Age restrictions also are being enforced at the medical center. The flu can cause serious complications, or even be fatal, for the very young and elderly. Children are also more likely to spread influenza. Therefore, visitors 12 years old or younger will not be allowed on patient floors.
“Usually, young children carry a lot of germs around,” Brinkman said. “We don’t want any children at inpatient areas in and around the facility.” Brinkman said it is important for children to stay away from family members who have been admitted for influenza. “They should stay away from anyone who has symptoms,” she said.
Happy Days Childcare, Hays, realizes the importance of keeping their 3- to 5-year-old children healthy.
“When we have kids get sick, they stay home for at least 24 hours after the symptoms have cleared,” said Tiffanie Thiede, Happy Days Childcare teacher.
Thiede said the daycare has not yet had to implement additional restrictions, but they are continuing to remain careful to keep their childcare facility sanitized and germ-free.
“We spray down everything with a disinfectant,” she said. “We are always wiping things down, and if toys go in mouths, we disinfect.”
Across the country, there has been a significant rise of influenza A and B, according to HaysMed.
Therefore, precautions are necessary to protect patients, family and hospital employees. “We increased restrictions because we saw an increase of patients admitted to the facility with influenza,” Brinkman said. “We typically do this every year. It’s nothing new.”
Visitor restrictions will stay in place until the end of flu season, according to the infection prevention officer.
“They should be lifted by March 31,” she said.
In the meantime, HaysMed visitors are to pay close attention to restriction postings around the facility.
“We have them at all entrances,” Brinkman sa