OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - When visitors walk through the doors at East Alabama Medical Center they are greeted with flu alert signs.
Visitors are asked to stop and turn around if they have flu like symptoms...cough, fever, aches and pains. Even healthy friends and extended family are not permitted to visit the most vulnerable patients in the hospital.
"Earlier today we decided to limit our visits to the following areas, ICU, CVICU, mother baby and the child birth unit and pediatrics," said John Atkinson from EAMC. "We are limiting those areas to immediate family members only."
"Those two areas tend to be the patients that are most susceptible to picking up illness. They are already immune compromised as it is so they don't need to be exposed to somebody exhibiting flu-like symptoms."
EAMC asks children under the age of 12 to stay home year round, not just during flu season.
Visitors who are of age and are not feeling sick are asked to wash and sanitize their hands before and after visits.
EAMC is hoping the restrictions will slow down the rising number of cases.
"Our ER visits for the month of December are up about 15 percent from last December, now that's not all flu cases but obviously some of it is."
Each year about 100 children die of the flu along with 24,000 adults, so protect yourself. It's not too late to get a flu shot.
It may or may not keep you from getting the flu because there are so many different strains, but doctors say if you do get the flu it will certainly help you fight it.