The flu is already in full swing here in South-Central Kentucky.
In the past few days, Greenview Regional Hospital has seen a 30-40 % increase of patients with flu-like symptoms in their emergency department.
Those numbers are also starting to trickle over to hospital employees, but not at a widespread level. We're told it has not affected their ability to treat patients either... and healthy employees have been very understanding and helpful as they cover extra shifts.
Like many hospitals, Greenview is taking no chances this flu season. Hand sanitizer is available almost everywhere you turn and sanitary masks are becoming part of the daily routine. Also, when patients come in with flu or flu-like symptoms, they put masks on those patients in registration or the emergency room.
In the last week, hundreds of those masks have been given out.
The hospital also adivses common sense caution among patients and visitors, especially when it comes to making visits to hospital wings at increased risk for infection. Any person experiencing any illness should not be making friendly visits to the hospital. That especially holds true when it comes to places like the maternity ward.
Sherry McDonald, the Chief Nursing Officer for Greenview says there is no need for panic... and wants to stress this is not SARS... but since the flu outbreak is widespread, everyone is encouraged to do all they can to prevent spreading infection.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be purchased at most groceries and drug stores. Sanitary masks can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores, as well as some pharmacies. It's also a good idea to regularly disinfect shared areas at home and work, especially if you're around those who may have the flu or other illness.