Hospitals keep young visitors away to prevent spread of flu

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Emergency rooms around the Triangle are starting to see their highest flu numbers of the season.

"We're starting to see a significant increase about three times as much flu cases that we were seeing just a couple of weeks prior," Dr. Ryan Lamb with UNC REX Hospital said.

That's why starting Friday, restrictions will be in place for visitors at UNC Hospitals and UNC REX. Children 11 years old and younger are prohibited from visiting inpatients at the Hospital, including in the ER and all oncology outpatient areas.

Related: Cape Fear Valley Health bans children visitors amid flu fears

"Mostly we want to protect them-that's the number one reason. We want to keep them safe because unfortunately they can also get very ill," Lamb said.

A total of 16 people have died from the flu so far this year in North Carolina.

According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, children 5 years old and younger have an increased risk of flu complications. Dr. lamb said they're also carriers of the virus.

"Children in general as well as some people with chronic illness will spread the virus longer than the average person. And so therefore, more people will get infected," Lamb said.

Lamb adds it's not too late to get your shot. Once you get vaccinated, it takes two weeks for you to become immune to the virus.

WakeMed has similar restrictions that go into place on Friday too. Children under 12-years-old will not be allowed in patient care areas.
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