LUBBOCK, TEXAS - More than 250,000 people die each year from the influenza virus, according to Eric Finley, marketing director at Texas Tech University Medical Center. This year, Lubbock has has seen its worst flu numbers since 2003.
UMC is taking extensive measures to mitigate the spread of the flu throughout the hospital – highly recommending that parents keep children under the age of 12 in the lobby or at home.
"We are following in suit as other hospitals have done in saying for the next few weeks, if possible, let's keep kids out of patient rooms," said Finley.
While this week the hospital reported only 12 flu cases, he says in most weeks, that number has been several dozens. The hospital did not provide information on the severity of those cases.
UMC makes this recommendation for the sake of both patients and children. Patients may have weakened immune systems that could worsen with germ or viral exposure. Children may carry this germs into the hospital rooms, added Finley.
It also protects children from coming into contact with the flu virus while at the hospital, he said.
In addition to their new recommendation, he says it is not too late to get a flu shot, adding it has not been particularly effective this year.
"Wash your hands, sneeze or cough into your sleeve, stay home if you are sick, stay away from others and spreading the disease as much as possible. It's still not too late to get your flu shot if you haven't," he said.
Starting Tuesday, signs will be posted across the medical center asking parents to keep their kids in the lobby or at home.
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