Senior Watch: Flu Season

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 6:51 PM EST
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We are hearing reports flu is widespread across the country, and Dr. James Jarvis is here from Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center was in for Senior Watch this week to discuss measures the hospital is taking to prevent the spread of flu in our community

Q: Can you explain what response the hospital is taking?

A: Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is taking precautions to safe guard the health of patients, visitors and our staff through an enhanced visitation policy.

All year long, we accommodate two visitors per patient. If you are admitted to a Critical Care area, visitors must be 12 years or older.

During flu season, our policy enhancement helps to limit the number of people in the hospital who might be contagious and unintentionally spread the influenza virus to vulnerable populations such as the very young, the elderly, and those with medical conditions and compromised immune systems.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 14, we are initiating this temporary change, which entails:

• Visitors must be 12 years or older.

• Visitors must be free of flu-like symptoms and not have had any exposure to people with fever, cough, chills, etc.

• If more than two visitors are waiting to see a patient, they may take a seat in the main lobby or in The Maine Café

Q: Are there some tips you have for everyone, to help prevent the spread of germs?


• Clean your hands using hand sanitizer or soap and water frequently.

• Cover your cough with a tissue or using the crook of an arm, and then clean your hands.

• Stay home if you are not feeling well.

• Contact your primary care provider for further direction if they begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Q: Why is the hospital limiting visitation for children under 12?

A: The flu is highly contagious, and children are at higher risk for complications from influenza. Children under 12 years tend to spread the

virus easily as they share close social proximity with each other in school classrooms. The virus can easily move from child to child as they share things like toys and pencils. This will help limit the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations.

Q: Where can you get more information?

A: There is more information on our website: