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October 28, 2009 > Washington Hospital Issues New Visitation Policy Regarding H1N1 Flu

Washington Hospital Issues New Visitation Policy Regarding H1N1 Flu

At Washington Hospital, we take the health of both our patients and their visitors seriously. With the increase of H1N1 flu cases in our area, we have made some changes to our visitation policy. Effective Monday, October 26, 2009, Washington Hospital will no longer allow visitors or family members under 16 years of age to visit people in the hospital. Additionally, any visitor showing flu-like symptoms should not enter the Hospital. These limitations will be in effect during the height of the flu season, usually lasting until spring, and will be re-evaluated at that time.

Symptoms of the flu are fever of 100 degrees or more and:
* Cough
* Sore throat
* Runny nose
* Nasal congestion

Washington Hospital understands the impact the restriction has on families that are already dealing with the complexities of their loved one's health, but we feel very strongly about the importance of limiting the risks of exposure to our patients and staff. The implications for seriously ill patients who contract the flu can be very serious, and while we empathize greatly for our patients' family and friends, our number one priority and concern remains the well-being and health of our patients, employees, volunteers and medical staff.

Washington Hospital is not alone in implementing this limitation, as other hospitals throughout the Bay Area are restricting visitors to help reduce the exposure of this flu to patients. Washington Hospital hopes to have an uneventful flu season and we are optimistic that this strategy will aid in limiting the presence and spread of H1N1 throughout the Hospital.

Meanwhile, the hospital is advising all visitors (regardless of age) to not enter the hospital if symptoms of a flu-like illness are present. If you feel that you need medical care, please visit Washington Urgent Care located on the second floor of Washington West at 2500 Mowry Avenue or visit the Hospital's Emergency Department.

Washington Hospital thanks you for your understanding and appreciates your cooperation in helping us keep our patients, employees, volunteers and medical staff safe.

Tips on How to Protect Yourself Against the Flu

Listed below are some everyday preventive actions you can take to help protect yourself and prevent other from getting the flu.

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you are sick with flu-like illness, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick.
* While sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

To find out about H1N1 vaccine availability please visit the websites listed below or call the pre-recorded information line at (510) 505-5424. For more information, about the flu (including the H1N1 flu), visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site at or the Alameda County Department of Public Health's web site at You may all visit Washington Hospital's web site at

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