Those planning to visit Regional or Union hospitals in Terre Haute will have to take extra precautions.
They are two of the many hospitals across the Wabash Valley putting restrictions on visitors due to the flu.
Even though the weather is starting to warm up, the flu is picking up pace across the area.
The number of people infected with the flu has gone up in recent weeks and health officals expect the numbers to continue to rise.
“Just fair warning to everybody, we are seeing a lot of the flu now,” UAP’s, Stacy Horn, FNP said. “So if you are coming in with anything other than flu-like symptoms, you may want to think about that carefully before you come in or wear a mask want you get here.”
Horn recommends coming solo to appointments to prevent the spread of the flu.
“So when you come in with flu-like symptoms, you really should come in by yourself if at all possible,” she said. “If you have to bring in a caregiver or a guardian that’s fine, you can bring them in but we try to limit the exposure to everyone else as much as possible, so they don’t catch the flu while they are out in the waiting room.”
Union Health’s infection control department has been monitoring influenza and has observed a significant increase in patients testing positive for Influenza A in the surrounding communities.
Influenza has led to the deaths of 60 Indiana residents since the start of flu season according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
The flu season runs from October until about April, with the peak beginning in December, but this year is different.
“Well, we didn’t get hit with it (the flu) until about a month ago,” Horn said. “We got hit with it on Monday, and we’ve been busy ever since then. We are hoping it will end soon with the warmer weather coming, but it’s still here and we are seeing a lot of the flu.”
While the flu is hitting hard now, pharmacist Devin Ice said there is less of a flu outbreak this year thanks to the vaccine.
“People who are coming in with the flu seem to be people who didn’t get the vaccine because the vaccine had pretty good efficacy this year,” he said.
Depending on the day the number of people they see can change, and Ice said they’ve already prepared for next year by placing vaccine orders.
“You know the flu is always going to be here it just depends on when it comes,” he noted.
Health officials urge the public to get vaccinated at the beginning of flu season