CHAMPAIGN — If you're feeling a bit flu-ish and planning to visit someone in the hospital, please don't, health experts urge.
With flu at a widespread level in Illinois and most of the rest of the country, some hospitals have begun restricting visitors to protect their patients from potential infection.
Only limited hospital visiting restrictions have gone into effect in the area so far.
Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana has adjusted visiting restrictions in just one department for the remainder of flu season, in neonatal intensive care, according to spokesman Mark Schultz.
In the Carle NICU, visitors must be over age 18 unless they are the parents; all visitors must be healthy with no symptoms of a cold, flu or other illnesses; and a total of two primary caregivers and four support members may be allowed in the unit at once, he said.
Presence Covenant Medical Center and Presence United Samaritans Medical Center aren't restricting visitors due to flu at this time, hospital spokeswoman Gina Marsh said.
"Certainly if someone doesn't feel well, we would like them to think twice about coming in to see someone at the hospital," said Carle Senior Infection Preventionist Daniel Bronson-Lowe.
Bronson-Lowe said people in the hospital are particularly vulnerable to infection, and even visitors with mild symptoms can spread a virus.
For those who feel they must come to the hospital with a cough or other minor symptoms, he said, Carle urges those visitors to use the masks and hand sanitizers stationed throughout the hospital.
"These are extra precautions they can help us with," he said.
St. John's Hospital, Springfield, adjusted visiting guidelines Thursday for flu season, saying it highly recommends visitors to stay away if they have a cold or flu-like symptoms including fever or chills, sore throat, body or muscle aches, headache, cough or runny nose, are under age 18 and are pregnant.
The hospital also said it also recommends a limit of two people visit a patient at one time, and is reminding its visitors there are soap and hand sanitizers that should be used when entering and leaving patient rooms.