Published on December 29, 2017

Essentia Health Issues Visitor Restrictions & Reminds Community How to Prevent the Flu

Influenza season is upon us. Hospitalizations and visits to the Emergency Department at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and Clinics for flu-related illness has significantly increased.

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center is asking that visitors be limited to immediate family only, due to high levels of influenza and influenza-like illness. To protect our patients and children in our community, we request children do not visit at this time.

The following precautions will help protect you from influenza and other illnesses circulating in the community:

  • clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • disinfect high touch surfaces and objects frequently.

The best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu is to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a flu vaccine for anyone who is six months old or older. It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine. Some people who get the flu shot may still get the flu but typically symptoms will be milder.

Kari Russell, RN, Infection Preventionist at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center says “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu. Other precautions you should take include cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based hand rubs, and do not go to work or school if you are sick.”

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • The CDC recommends that you stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Essentia Health is encouraging the public not to visit patients in the hospital unless you are immediate family and do not have a fever or cough.
  • Flu vaccine is available at all of the Essentia Health Clinics.

To make a flu vaccination appointment call your local Essentia Health Clinic or (218) 828-7100. The cost of a flu vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B, Medicaid and most private insurance companies.