All people who have flu-like symptoms are asked to please refrain from visiting patients at Rush. Beginning Monday, February 7, trained Rush staff members will begin asking patients at all entrances to the main hospital if they have symptoms of the flu. These symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches or body aches, chills and fatigue.
Once screened, these visitors will receive a yellow “flu-check” sticker to wear throughout their time at Rush.
Visitors who exhibit flu symptoms may be asked to go home rather than potentially spread illness to others. Patients coming to the medical center for appointments who have flu-like symptoms will be asked to wear a mask. Screenings of outpatients and their families will continue to be at the clinic or office.
“The number of patients coming to Rush with flu-like symptoms has increased significantly in the last few weeks,” said Dr. John Segreti, hospital epidemiologist and chairperson of the Infection Prevention and Control Committee. “It is important to take these extra precautions to keep our patients, visitors, employees, students and faculty from getting the flu.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there is widespread flu activity in Illinois at this time. The City of Chicago reports an increase in the number if influenza associated intensive care unit admissions during the last two weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Seasonal flu vaccination should continue throughout the influenza season, which can last as late as May. Rush policy requires that all Rush personnel receive the flu vaccine or they will be required to wear a mask during peak influenza times.
According to Segreti, this year’s seasonal flu vaccine is a good match for fighting the flu. It includes the influenza viruses that are circulating in our community.
For more information on protecting yourself from the flu virus, visit www.flu.gov.