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One Iredell hospital has put visitor restrictions in place.

Iredell Memorial Hospital issued restrictions related to the flu, effective Friday.

Lake Norman Regional does not have restrictions but may consider them later, said Leigh Lowder Whitfield, director of marketing and public relations. “We do not have visitor restrictions in place but continue to closely monitor patients presenting with flu and flu-like symptoms and may institute restrictions at some point,” she said.

As of Friday, Iredell Health System is asking guests not to bring children under the age of 18 to visit patients in the hospital.

Children under the age limit should visit the hospital only if they are seeking medical attention themselves.

Anyone with a cough, cold, fever or sore throat is asked to refrain from visiting hospital patients as well.

The hospital has treated dozens of patients with flu-like symptoms since December. More than 100 positive flu cases have been reported at the hospital during that time.

“Restrictions like this are necessary to help protect our patients as well as our staff and visitors,” said Pam Gill, director of infection prevention for Iredell Health System. “We also encourage all visitors to use the masks, hand sanitizer and tissues available at public entrances of Iredell Memorial.”

Even though the flu season is well underway, it’s still not too late to be 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.”

Whitfield said Lake Norman officials agree with that advice.

“Influenza can be severe, and annual vaccination is the best tool for flu prevention. It is not too late to get a flu shot. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated this season should get an influenza vaccine now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises everyone 6 months or older to get a flu shot, especially people at high risk for developing serious complications from influenza: young children, adults over 65, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and lung disease or compromised immune systems,” she said.

Whitfield said Lake Norman is prepared to treat patients with flu-like symptoms and is working to stem the spread of flu in the community. “We are adhering to prevention strategies recommended by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include providing awareness and education throughout the hospital and offering respiratory etiquette stations with tissues, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and surgical masks,” she said.

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