With the holidays just around the corner, we want to help you make the festive season as safe and healthy as possible for everyone in Muskoka, not only our patients. Influenza season is ramping up in the province, including Muskoka, and there are some basic principles of infection prevention that are important to remember if you’re planning to visit a friend or family member at the hospital.
To start, if you have flu-like symptoms or generally are feeling unwell it is best that you stay home instead of visiting at the hospital. It will be important that you get plenty of rest and drink lots of clear fluids until you are feeling better. You should avoid close contact with people if you have any of the following symptoms:
- New, serious cough
- Sore throat
- Runny or congested nose
- Body aches
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub – especially before entering and after exiting a hospital room;
- sneeze and cough into your elbow; and,
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Getting the flu shot is another way we can all protect each other. It’s the best way to safeguard against influenza and helps to minimize the severity of the illness. I’m proud to say that 78% of our staff have been immunized, which is a remarkable commitment to patient safety.
In the hospital, when patients are suffering from influenza, they are put under isolation precautions to prevent the flu from being transmitted to other patients or care providers. This includes the need for visitors and staff to wear protective equipment such as a mask, a gown, and/or gloves. And when influenza levels get to a certain point in the hospital or in the community at large, we may be required to limit or restrict visitors.
With some good visiting etiquette and common sense around flu symptoms, we can help keep our most vulnerable patients safe and ensure our workforce is healthy and strong to provide the care our patients need.
The healthier you are this holiday season, the more time you can enjoy with friends and family.