TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Beginning this week, there are new visitation restrictions at Banner University Medical Center that are intended to keep flu from spreading in the hospital this winter.
Hospitals create the restrictions because patients already in the hospital may have more complications from the flu virus than someone not hospitalized.
Included in the restrictions, children under 13 years old are not allowed to visit patients in the hospital. Dr. Sean Elliott says limiting children is part of mitigating the spread of flu.
"A) Because they are more contagious and B) because they may be contagious prior to the onset of symptoms," said Dr. Elliott.
This is the full set of restrictions posted at Banner UMC:
- Do not visit the hospital if you have fever, cough, vomiting or diarrhea
- No visitors under the age of 13
- Siblings who do not have cold and flu symptoms may visit a new baby in the Obstetrics Unit.
- Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times in public waiting areas and cafeterias
- Please wash or sanitize your hands frequently while at the hospital
As for the age restriction, Dr. Elliott added that there are exceptions to the rule.
"For compassionate reasons, a family member who is dying, a family member of child like one of our children with cancer who's been in the hospital for a long time, of course there are exceptions," he said.
Dr. Elliott says this flu season has been fairly mild in Arizona thus far, it usually ends in March which is when they can lift the restrictions again. He says there is still time to get a flu shot.