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St. Joseph's asks potentially sick visitors to stay home

Due to a rise in influenza activity in the area, St. Joseph's Area Health Services is asking anyone experiencing illness to keep their loved ones safe by staying home if they are sick.

"Throughout the area we are experiencing early flu activity," says St. Joseph's Infection Prevention Coordinator, Wendy Gullicksrud. "To protect your loved ones, we are requesting you refrain from visiting St. Joseph's if you are ill."

This latest request is in response to a rising number of individuals presenting influenza-like symptoms.

"Our priority is to protect patients in our care and promote wellness in area communities during this influenza season," Gullicksrud says.

St. Joseph's requests the following restrictions for anyone with symptoms of influenza including:

n Fever and cough

n Fever, sore throat, body aches

n Stuffy nose

n Headache and tiredness

Your best defense against seasonal influenza is to get the flu vaccine, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's not too late. They recommend everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated for influenza.

Talk to your regular provider about getting vaccinated or visit local retail businesses who are offering the service.

Everyone can do their part to prevent illness during this influenza season and help prevent the spread of disease in our area communities. The CDC recommends you:

n Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

n Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

n Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

n Practice good health habits.

n Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.

n Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

n If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

For more information, see the CDC website at