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IU Health Implements Visitor Restrictions At Five More Hospitals

flu-restricted-visitors_becca-costello.jpg

The restrictions ask anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms not to visit the hospital. (Becca Costello, WFIU/WTIU News)

IU Health is implementing visitor restrictions at five more hospitals to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses.

The restrictions limit the visitors for patients to parents or legal guardians and two others. They also ask that anyone under the age of 18 not visit the hospitals. And, they ask anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms not to visit, or for sick patients to wear surgical masks.

The IU Health campuses adopting restrictions Friday include Ball Memorial Hospital, Blackford Hospital, Jay Hospital, Methodist Hospital and University Hospital.

IU Health Bloomington put the restrictions in place for its Mother Baby and Pediatric units earlier this week because of an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus. RSV can cause inflammation of the lungs or bronchitis in infants.

Kristen Kelley is the director of infection prevention for IU Health’s Adult Academic Health Center in Indianapolis. She says while hospitals may enact restrictions because of RSV or the flu, they’ll also prevent other sicknesses.

"The beautiful thing about visitor restrictions is that these restrictions will help for any number of viruses," Kelley says.

Kelley says RSV is more dangerous for children, but adults can still catch the virus. She says the restrictions for viruses like the flu or RSV often start in the Mother Baby or Pediatric units because children are more vulnerable.

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