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Tift Regional Health System/Southwell urges local residents to get a flu shot to help stay healthy during the influenza season and to observe a visitor restriction policy that will go into effect on Dec. 16 at Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton and Southwell Medical in Adel.

TIFTON – Tift Regional Health System/Southwell urges local residents to get a flu shot to help stay healthy during the influenza season and to observe a visitor restriction policy that will go into effect on Dec. 16 at Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton and Southwell Medical in Adel.

“We need the community’s help in minimizing the spread of the flu,” Mary Key, director of infection prevention, said in a news release. “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, visits to the doctor and absent days at work and school. It can also prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The visitor restrictions at Tift Regional Medical Center and Southwell Medical, including Southwell Health and Rehabilitation, are necessary to help protect our patients and health care providers. We are requesting that people under age 14 not visit our hospital facilities during the flu season. People over age 14 who are sick are asked not come to the hospitals or nursing home as well.”

Key said flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. “Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May,” she said.

The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

In addition to a flu shot, Key said there are other ways to help limit the spread of influenza. Some basic rules of thumb include:

♦ Avoid close contact – stay away from those who are sick, and if you’re sick, stay away from everyone else.

♦ Stay home when you are sick – you’re doing no one any favors by going to work or school with the flu. Also, do not visit a family member or friend who is hospitalized. Rest until you’re better.

♦ Cover your mouth and nose – when you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and save everyone in the immediate vicinity from your germs.

♦ Clean your hands – washing your hands often is always a good idea. If you are around anyone who is or has been sick, wash your hands even more frequently.

♦ Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

♦ Practice other good health habits – get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Visit www.tiftregional.com for a downloadable flu fact sheet, which provides tips on when to self-treat the flu, visit a clinic or make a trip to the emergency room. Additional information can also be found at www.cdc.gov/flu.

“We appreciate the community’s help and cooperation in reducing the spread of flu,” Key said.

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