Flu activity on rise, hospital notes

OBSERVER Photo A sign at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk warns visitors of the flu outbreak.

Dunkirk’s Brooks Memorial Hospital indicated on Wednesday there is a widespread flu activity in the region.

In a news release sent to the OBSERVER, the hospital noted that precaution signs have been placed at all hospital entrances to remind visitors of the active flu season at this time. Mask holders also have been placed throughout the hospital for use by patients and others who feel sick upon entering the hospital.

Lisa Maslak, director of Infection Control Department, said, “We take infection prevention very seriously. We strongly urge no more than two visitors per patient at any time. Those in our community, especially children, with fever, cough or other illnesses should not visit the hospital.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported much of the country experiencing widespread and intense flu activity. In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. The peak of flu season has occurred anywhere from late November through March.

To help stop the spread of the flu virus, Brooks reminds community members of these important precautions:

¯ Get vaccinated. It’s not too late to get your flu shot.

¯ Always cover your cough, but never with your hand. Cough into your bent elbow.

¯ When using hand sanitizer, hands need to be rubbed vigorously until dry. Friction is the only way to ensure its effectiveness.

¯ Grocery store cart handles are a common host of germs. Use sanitary wipes provided to clean cart handles before using.

¯ Be mindful that a common cold comes on slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly and severely.

Lastly, Brooks offers the flu vaccination to its employees and their families and requires those who decline to wear a mask to help protect all patients and visitors to the hospital.