As the flu continues to spread in North Carolina, Iredell Memorial Hospital
is responding to the challenge of treating those with serious symptoms,
while protecting other patients from the virus.
Thursday, February 15, state health officials reported 17 new flu deaths
in North Carolina, bringing the total of flu deaths this season to 165.
“We are going through masks more quickly than we did last year,”
said Emergency Department director Rhonda Ruppe. “We are also seeing
a lot of patients use our convenience care services in the Emergency Department
with flu symptoms.”
Iredell Memorial Hospital has treated dozens of patients with flu-like
symptoms. Between January 1 and February 11, the laboratory at Iredell
Memorial Hospital processed 650 flu tests, with 138 positive results.
“While this is a busy year for the flu, it’s still difficult
to gauge the total impact the virus is having compared to previous years,”
said Iredell Health System Infection Prevention Director Pam Gill. “Last
year we didn’t impose guest restrictions until we saw a sharp increase
in cases in late February. This year, we saw the need to implement restrictions
Iredell Health System is asking guests not to bring children 17 and under
to visit patients in the hospital at this time. There are masks, hand
sanitizer and tissues available at public entrances.
“We feel our emphasis on sanitation and the guest restrictions are
working to help protect our patient population, despite the number of
people with the flu who are coming to the hospital for help,” said Gill.
Ruppe says anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay vigilant and
know when to seek medical help.
“If someone is having difficulty breathing, is dehydrated, not taking
fluid, has an uncontrolled fever or is unresponsive, it’s time to
get to the hospital,” said Ruppe.
Even though the flu season is well underway, it’s still not too late
to get vaccinated.
“For whatever reason, too many people choose not to get the flu shot,”
said Gill. “They may be afraid it may make them sick or heard of
someone who had a bad experience. Yet, the evidence shows that the flu
shot is the best tool we have to slow and prevent the spread of the virus.”