Visitor Restrictions in Place

February 10, 2015

In response to the Enterovirus D68 outbreak, as well as flu season, Bassett Medical Center is implementing visitor restrictions in the Birthing Center and Pediatric Unit effective Monday, October 13. For the time being, individuals under the age of 18, as well as anyone showing signs of a respiratory illness, will not be allowed to visit the Birthing Center or Pediatric Unit in an effort to help curb the spread of enterovirus.

“Newborns and young children are among our most vulnerable patients and at greater risk for complications from respiratory illness,” notes Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Philip Heavner. “Limiting visitation to healthy individuals is in the best interest of our patients and their loved ones.”

The respiratory virus known as Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, is part of the family of viruses that includes the common cold. The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Children who become very ill with EV-D68 infection have wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Respiratory illnesses can be caused by many different viruses and have similar symptoms. Not all respiratory illnesses occurring now are due to EV-D68. Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing, or if their symptoms are getting worse.

The best defense against the virus is proper hand washing. Protect yourself by taking the following steps:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick • Stay out of crowds, and home from work or school, if you feel ill.

For more information about Enterovirus D68, the flu and similar respiratory illnesses, visit www.cdc.gov

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