Article Published: Jan. 16 | Modified: Jan. 17
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) asks that
anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family
and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also
important that during this time of increased flu cases in our area visitors 12 and under not visit
hospitalized family and friends.
According to the Centers for Disease
Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S. with 47 states reporting widespread illness. North
Carolina is one of these states.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's hospital
emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the
number of people presenting with influenza-like illness. While everyone who presents is not tested
for the flu, among those tested in the System's facilities, more than 140 have tested positive since
November 2012. Watauga Medical Center has admitted 17 patients due to the flu.
"Patients are very vulnerable while in the hospital, so we are appealing to
those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting
in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities," stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical
Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. "Our top priority is to take every appropriate
precaution to keep our patients safe."
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to
person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object
infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can
do to prevent catching or spreading the flu: Protect yourself, your family and your
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough
or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your
eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw
the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• If you don't have a tissue, cough or
sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
• If you get sick with flu,
stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them
• Get the recommended seasonal flu
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
Most people recover from flu after
about a week without lasting effects.
Seek emergency medical care if you or a
family member has any of these symptoms:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Severe or persistent
• Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and
• In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or
ARHS is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and
appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit