Influenza Rates Mandate Caution, Masking

Because of increased influenza activity in our area, Jefferson Community Health & Life and Cedarwood are requiring visitors, volunteers and staff who have not been immunized to wear masks when in the facilities. In addition, JCH&L reminds the public that anyone who has been exposed to influenza or has symptoms should not visit. This includes the hospital, Gardenside and Cedarwood assisted living, and includes all events, including holiday parties.

“We are taking this step in order to protect our patients and residents,” said Amber Brunow, infection preventionist.

Gardenside and Cedarwood do not have any active cases of influenza at this time. These precautions are being taken to keep residents and tenants healthy and prevent an outbreak.

Public health influenza surveillance systems are showing a marked increase in influenza activity throughout the state in the past week, including in and around Jefferson County.

Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone with influenza symptoms stay home and avoid contact with others except to receive medical care. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms.  People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

The CDC lists these steps to prevent influenza:
*Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
*While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

*Stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without medication).

*Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.

*Wash your hands often with soap and water.

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

*Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.