Due to the severity of the current flu season, hospitals across the country are undertaking efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus. Effective immediately, Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) is implementing the following visitor restrictions:

• Children under 14 years may not visit patients.

• Anyone with flu-like symptoms (i.e., coughing, sneezing, fever or sore throat) will not be allowed to visit patients.

“We are focused on providing the best quality of care in an environment that is safe for our patients, staff and visitors,” said Jonathan Truong, M.D., medical director for AVH’s infection control. “These additional safeguards will help ensure our patients are not being put at an increased risk for flu or other respiratory illnesses.”

The visitor guidelines are expected to remain in effect until the end of March, which is typically when flu season ends.

Since November 2017, the hospital has witnessed a 27-percent in visits to the emergenfcy department, largely due to flue-like symptoms. Earlier this month, it opened a “Flu Zone” designated treatment area for patients with the flu.

To help reduce the spread of the flu virus, Dr. Truong recommends:

• Anyone coming into the hospital with flu or cold symptoms wear a mask.

• Visitors practice good hand hygiene, including utilizing hand sanitizers located throughout the facility before and after patient contact as well as after touching public surfaces (i.e., door handles, elevator buttons, chair armrests, etc.).

• Exercising good “cough etiquette” by covering their coughs/sneezes, followed by proper hand hygiene.