NMMC implements precautions due to spread of flu

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TUPELO – Because our area is beginning to experience increasing cases of flu, North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo and Women’s Hospital are implementing strategies to protect our patients, visitors, staff and physicians.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, hospitalized patients, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for serious flu complications.

NMMC will be following these protection measures:

  • To avoid further spread of the disease, NMMC asks that you limit visiting family members and friends during this time.
  • Individuals who have flu symptoms—such as fever, cough, headache, chills or body aches—are asked not to visit until free of symptoms for seven days.
  • The flu shot is the best means available for preventing the influenza virus, but it does not work 100 percent of the time. However, you may respond quicker to medicines, such as Tamiflu or have a less severe form of the flu, if you have received a vaccine.
  • It is not too late to get a flu shot but it takes a couple of weeks to form immunity. The flu shot is not a “live” vaccine, so if you experience symptoms soon after your vaccine, chances are that you were already exposed.
  • NMMC employees who have not received the flu vaccine are required to wear a mask during the flu season.

“Our goal is to limit visitors to immediate family members and caregivers to reduce the number of visitors hospitalwide,” said Malinda Prewitt, M.D., infectious disease specialist. “Children under age 14 should not visit.”

Influenza is spread from person to person often before the carrier experiences the first symptom. Hospital officials are encouraging area residents who aren’t feeling well to make their visit personal but not in person and to send a card, not a cough.