As flu season worsens, Mercy Hospital in Ardmore is taking preventative measures.
Children 12 and under who aren’t seeking medical treatment for themselves won’t be allowed to visit patients. The measures went into place on Friday, January 12.
“We don’t want to expose patients to additional risks,” Mercy Infection Control Prevention Specialist Toni Roberts said in a statement. “Children under the age of 12 tend to have a high rate of flu illness. In order to protect all of our patients, hospital staff and children themselves, we must put in place visitor restrictions for the time being.”
The temporary restrictions have been put in place after the hospital reported a significant increase in flu cases over the last two weeks. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 22 people have died in the state due to the flu since Sept. 1 last year.
Trying to be proactive in the thick of flu season can be costly. Bill Moore, a pharmacist with Henry Roberts Express Pharmacy in Ardmore, said Tamiflu costs about $120. Tamiflu can also be taken as a flu preventative.
“Some providers are hesitant to do that right now because it is sort of hard to get, so they have to consider that,” Moore said. “Some pharmacies are having a hard time getting it.”
That demand can extend to over-the-counter medicines as well.
“A lot of over-the-counter products will help, but some of them can be hard to get a hold of during this time,” Moore said. “Those can help a lot, it’s in high demand.”
Weekly updates on flu activity in Oklahoma can be found at https://www.ok.gov/health/. OSDH’s FluView is updated at 10 a.m. every Thursday.