Tri-State hospitals limiting visitation due to flu, whooping cou - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Tri-State hospitals limiting visitation due to flu, whooping cough

Local hospitals tightening visitor restrictions during flu season (FOX19) Local hospitals tightening visitor restrictions during flu season (FOX19)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Tri-State hospitals are taking extra measures to minimize the spread of respiratory illnesses, including implementing limited visitation policies. 

According to the Greater Cincinnati Health Council, for the time being, local hospitals are prohibiting visitation to anyone who is ill with any respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever) and anyone under the age of 18. 

"Winter brings an increase in a number of respiratory illnesses, not just flu," said Tonda Francis, vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. "Although we know it's difficult for family members and friends not to be able to visit their loved ones in the hospital, we also know visitors wouldn't want to make their loved ones even sicker than they already are."

Officials say the flu could be especially harmful this year since the CDC discovered that the 2014-2015 flu vaccination may not cover more recent mutations of the virus, meaning more people who think they are safe could develop the flu. The recent spread of pertussis (whooping cough) also remains a concern for doctors. 

As always, it is important that people use common sense when it comes to preventing the spread of germs including covering your cough, washing your hands frequently and staying home from school or work when you are sick. 

The Greater Cincinnati Health Council asks that, if you do have a cold, cough or other respiratory illness, you don't visit patients in health care facilities. 

Hospitals serving special patient populations may have more strict restrictions in place.

On Tuesday, Indiana health officials reported the first flu death of the year

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