Floyd Medical Center, Polk Medical Center and Cherokee Medical Center are restricting visitors beginning 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, to decrease the chances of patients and hospital staff catching the flu and other contagious illnesses.

While flu cases are not widespread, Floyd is being proactive. The flu can cause serious complications and even death, especially in the very young, the elderly and those with certain existing medical conditions.

The restrictions include:

  • No visitors other than immediate family members or other people approved by the patient
  • No visitors younger than 13
  • No visitors with flu-like symptoms, which include cough, sore throat, fever, chills, aches, runny or stuffy nose and vomiting or diarrhea

Visitors are encouraged to wash their hands frequently while in the hospital and wear protective face masks when instructed. Exceptions to these restrictions may be made for cases involving critically ill patients and end-of-life situations.

Physicians at Floyd are urging patients with the flu to visit their primary care doctor or nearest Floyd Urgent Care rather than going to the emergency room.

“If you think you have the flu, the best action to take is to visit your primary care doctor or an urgent care office as soon as possible,” said Dr. Robert Holcombe Jr., Medical Director, Floyd Urgent Care.

Primary Care and Urgent Care physicians are equipped to diagnose and treat the flu, are quicker and less expensive than a trip to the ER, and by diagnosing the flu early, your doctor’s office can prescribe antiviral medication that may help shorten the severity and length of your symptoms.

Common flu symptoms can be severe and appear suddenly:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Severe aches and pains
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

The flu usually lasts seven to 10 days. Most people are contagious before they show any symptoms and until 24 hours after they last have a fever.