(Reston, VA- September 30, 2009)- Reston Hospital Center and HCA Virginia are serious about protecting the community, including our patients and employees, from the flu. This year, in order to combat what may be one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, the hospital has taken additional steps to prevent the further spread of pandemic H1N1 and seasonal flu.

"Our goal is not only to protect our patients from contracting the flu, but also to keep our employees and the community healthy," stated Bill Adams, President and CEO of Reston Hospital Center. He continued, "The extra steps that we are taking this year are supported by HCA, the CDC, and other major healthcare providers nationally and regionally."

Limiting visitors to the hospital's inpatient units, beginning October 5, is one measure the hospital has taken to prevent further spread of flu. The following restrictions will be in place throughout the hospital this flu season:

  • In all inpatient units visitors under the age of 18 are not allowed, and adult visitors are limited to two people at a time.
  • Visitors with any symptoms of influenza-like illness are not allowed.
  • Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing when visiting.
  • On the Maternity Unit visitors are limited to the spouse/significant other of the mother, and the grandparents of the newborn.
  • All maternity tours will be canceled through the duration of flu season.
  • If the influenza pandemic warrants further limitations, visiting hours may be restricted at the discretion of the hospital.

As an additional protection to our patients and employees, Reston Hospital Center and HCA have asked that each of our employees be vaccinated against the flu this season. Not every single person can be vaccinated; some employees have religious beliefs or medical issues that keep them from receiving the vaccine, these employees will be wearing masks for their own and our patients' protection.

Each year in the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and 36,000 people die from the flu. This year the H1N1 flu may cause a more dangerous flu season, with many more people getting sick and hospitalized and higher mortality rates. Flu symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, and fatigue, with the additional symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea associated with the H1N1 flu. If you think you may have the flu, see your physician, who may be able to prescribe antiviral medication. It's important to go to the emergency room if you have the flu and experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain/pressure in the chest, sudden dizziness or confusion, or severe vomiting. The best forms of protection against the flu are vaccination and taking simple steps to stop germs, such as consistent hand washing.

To view the entire policy on visitation limitations, go to restonhospital.com. To learn more about the flu, go to www.flu.gov.

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