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Published January 17, 2013, 11:30 PM

Sanford imposing hospital visitor restrictions because of flu

FARGO – Sanford Health announced Thursday that it has imposed visitor restrictions at its hospitals and cancer center because of the flu epidemic. Sanford Fargo Medical Center, Sanford South University Medical Center and Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center are the locations with visitor restrictions.

By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

FARGO – Sanford Health announced Thursday that it has imposed visitor restrictions at its hospitals and cancer center because of the flu epidemic.

Sanford Fargo Medical Center, Sanford South University Medical Center and Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center are the locations with visitor restrictions.

Healthy close family members, including parents, spouses or significant others, in-laws, grandparents, children, siblings and grandchildren over the age of 18 still are allowed visitation.

Sanford clinics are not affected by the restrictions.

“It’s important, if people have flu-like symptoms and have family or friends who are hospitalized, they should not visit until they have completely recovered,” Joan Cook, Sanford’s director of infection prevention and control, said in a statement.

“We want to make sure we’re protecting our patients, many of whom are more susceptible to catching viruses,” she said.

It’s important to note that people can spread the illness without being sick, Sanford Health said in a news release. No one should visit for one to two days after being exposed to others who are sick.

Unlike the “stomach flu,” which causes nausea, vomiting and digestive distress, symptoms of influenza include fever, body aches, headache, dry cough, sore throat and lethargy.

Flu symptoms may last a week or more.

At Essentia Health, no visitor restrictions have been imposed due to the flu.

Signs at Essentia ask that people who are ill with flu-like symptoms refrain from visiting patients in the hospital.

Essentia has masks available for people who are coming in to be seen for flu-like symptoms.

To prevent the spread of flu, health providers recommend following these precautions:

• Frequent hand washings.

• Refrain from sharing items such as cups, glasses and utensils with others.

• Avoid people with upper respiratory infections, such as colds.

• Newborn babies should avoid visitors for two weeks.

• Get vaccinated against influenza.

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