New hospital restrictions during flu season

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

'Tis the season for colds and flu. So some Valley hospitals are putting strict restrictions in place about who can visit.

Concerned that this may be a worse flu season than normal, Banner Health has taken early steps to protect patients, visitors and staff at all of its hospitals.

[RELATED: Arizona flu season off to an early start]

The following restrictions are now in effect:

  • Do not visit the hospital if you have a fever, cough, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Please, no visitors under the age of 13.
  • Siblings, who do not have cold and flu symptoms, may visit a new baby on the Obstetrics unit or Pediatric unit. Your child may be screened for illness by staff before being allowed to visit.
  • Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times in public waiting areas and cafeterias.
  • Please wash or sanitize your hands frequently while at the hospital.

Looking at predictors such as the flu seasons in Australia and other parts of the world, many experts believe this may be a worse-than-average flu season. The good news is that scientists believe the strain of flu seen so far is included in this year's flu vaccine.

Banner Health encourages everyone over the age of 6 months to receive the flu vaccine to protect themselves and others from influenza. Talk to your primary care doctor today. Or, visit a Banner Urgent Care – the vaccine is free under most insurance plans.  

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in.

RELATED: Flu season is here and experts are already concerned

All Banner Health employees, employed physicians, volunteers and students received a flu vaccination by Dec. 1. Those not vaccinated because of medical or religious reasons are required to wear a mask while in care settings (such as hospitals) during the flu season.

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