OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) – A national flu outbreak is crippling thousands of people across the nation.
In East Alabama, a warning by a medical center is being sent outputting restrictions on visitors.
East Alabama Medical Center is restricting visitors due to the flu outbreak.
The hospital says the restrictions are for the health of patients and the community.
Here are the following visitor restrictions in place:
- People with flu-like symptoms are not permitted to visit (Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, aches and fever)
- It’s okay to visit if you are healthy, but you must wash your hands before and after visiting a patient
- Cover your cough with a tissue or your sleeve
The hospital wants to remind the community that visits are limited to healthy, immediate family members only, ages 12 and older.
East Alabama Medical Center staff says they've seen a significant increase in flu-like illnesses starting around Christmas week and staying consistent to this day. They are confirming these cases by one of two ways – through influenza-like illness or through a rapid test.
"Through rapid test we've seen more than 40 cases a week," Brooke Bailey, Director of Infection Prevention EAMC said.
A map of the United States from the Center for Disease Control considers flu activity high in the states of Alabama, Georgia, and several others.
The Alabama Department of Public Health confirms a shortage in heavily populated areas of the drug Tamiflu, that's used to treat the flu, EAMC says at their facility they don't have a shortage.
Despite reports of the vaccination being less effective this year, doctors and nurses encourage everyone to get the shot.
"Those patients who receive vaccinations usually tend to have fewer complications from the flu," Bailey said.