Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) will begin implementing Respiratory Syncytial
Virus (RSV) and Influenza (Flu) restrictions on Wednesday, Dec. 5, to
prevent the spread of these viruses to those who are more susceptible.
Visitors under the age of 13 will be restricted from any of SVMC’s
acute care units, as well as from the Distinct Part/Skilled Nursing Facility
(DP/SNF), for their own protection as well as others. This restriction
will be in effect until the RSV/Influenza season’s conclusion, which
is dependent on the number of cases seen in the area.
“We are really starting to see more and more cases lately,”
said Lisa S. Noel, RN-C, MSN, CIC who is the SVMC Infection Prevention
Manager. “Flu season really started here at the beginning of November.
The majority of our positive Influenza cases — approximately 75
percent — have been children. This is one of the main reasons we
are starting our visitation restrictions due to such large a number of
children with the flu and those with RSV. This will help protect both
our patients and community.”
RSV is a common virus that causes cold symptoms in adults and children.
Though most healthy adults and children will experience nothing more than
an infection resembling a common cold, infants and children with pre-existing
medical conditions can experience severe and potentially life-threatening
complications from RSV.
“So far, SVMC has seen approximately 60 cases of Influenza,”
added Noel. “All have been positive for Influenza A, except for
one case of Influenza B. This is showing a different trend from last year,
where we saw about 57 percent of Influenza A and about 43 percent of Influenza
B. We are also now just starting to see RSV in children, but our season
is not over yet. Overall, we are seeing a lot of respiratory-related illnesses,
both children and adults.”
SVMC urges visitors to comply with this restriction until further notice
for the safety of visiting children and the well-being of patients, other
visitors and community members alike. Children who require hospitalization
will receive normal care.
Some of the recommendations to prevent transmission of microorganisms is
through continual and thorough hand washing. Always wash with soap and
water or disinfect with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before coming
into contact with others. Remember to routinely clean household surfaces
to keep them as germ-free as possible. If possible, try to avoid crowded
places like malls and movie theaters, where viruses can quickly spread
from person to person.
RSV and Influenza are spread through contact and droplets, much like the
common cold, so keeping children away from contaminated areas is crucial.
Any adults who feel ill (cold and flu- like symptoms) should also restrict
their visits to protect SVMC patients. An infected person sneezing or
coughing can spread virus through the air, and some viruses can also survive
for several hours on surfaces.
“Remember, that ‘antibiotics’ are not always the answer,”
said Noel. “They will not work if you have a virus. Just remember
to eat healthy, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest to keep your
immune system strong.”
For those who are experiencing cold-like symptoms, always use a tissue
when coughing or sneezing, immediately dispose of it properly, then wash
your hands thoroughly to prevent spreading the virus.