RSV, Flu Restrictions in Effect December 5th at Sierra View

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.