Patient Safely and Infection Control Are Top Priorities for Keokuk Area Hospital
In hopes to keep patients and visitors from receiving the H1N1 virus, Keokuk Area Hospital (KAH) has temporarily changed its visiting policy. The Hospital is not permitting visitors under the age of 18.
Keokuk Area Hospital is also asking patients who have scheduled tests, procedures or surgery to have only one or two people accompany them.
"The temporary policy changes will be in effect until the current H1N1 and seasonal flu epidemics have passed," stated Amy Conlee, Community Relations Director.
Hospital officials began posting signs on all of the entrances Friday morning.
"Our goal as health care providers is to use every available precaution to protect our patients and visitors from exposure to infections," said Melanie Kelly, Infection Control Coordinator. Since spring, facemasks and hand sanitizer have been available for use at all entrances of KAH and inside the Emergency Department.
Symptoms of the flu include: fever and respiratory illness such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Most reported H1N1 cases have been among children and adolescents, who are at risk of carrying the disease into health care settings. It is possible that the symptoms of H1N1 don't appear until 24 hours after contraction of the illness.
If someone under the age of 18 is sick or injured, he or she should still seek medical care. Individuals with flu like symptoms should call their healthcare provider first. The single most effective measure to prevent the spread of illness is hand washing. The Iowa Department of Public Health has also started a campaign to remind individuals of the 3 C's:
* COVER your cough,
* CLEAN your hands, and
*CONTAIN germs by staying at home when sick.
You may also get information about H1N1 at www.idph.state.ia.us/h1n1 or http://www.idph.state.ia.us/h1n1 and www.flu.gov http://www.flu.gov or the statewide 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-447-1985.