Augusta Health under visitor restriction due to flu

FISHERSVILLE, Va (WHSV) — Augusta Health is taking more precautions as flu season begins to peak in our area. The hospital is now under a visitor restriction to prevent vulnerable patients from being exposed to the flu.

The hospital is asking anyone under the age of 12, or anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, to avoid visiting people in the hospital while flu season continues.

Infectious diseases physician Dr. Allison Baraco said that children are more likely to mask symptoms of the flu and, if exposed to the virus, at-risk patients can experience more extreme complications.

At least 30 children have died from the flu across the U.S. so far this year, and the Virginia Department of Health reports that children from 0-4 make up the largest number of patients at emergency rooms and urgent cares with flu-like symptoms

Baraco said that if you are feeling sick, stay at home.

"The best way to get a hold of this is to stay at home," said Baraco. "Avoid grocery stores, schools, work. Just call in and stay at home under your fever goes away."

If you are coming in to be treated for the flu, the hospital asks that you immediately put on a mask, wash your hands and alert staff.

"The flu is spread first by couching and sneezing droplets, but also, these droplets touch our hands and as we touch different surfaces, this really is a contact problem as well," said Baraco.

Since Monday, the hospital reports they've seen an additional 88 cases of the flu, totaling 572 cases of the virus. The hospital expects the high numbers to continue.

The number of cases of influenza are spiking across the country. You can find additional statistics from the CDC here.