UPDATE: Salem's North Shore Medical Center also has signs posted throughout the hospital requesting that visitors with flu-like symptoms wear medical masks and reminding everyone, including hospital staffers, to diligently wash their hands and avoid touching their faces.
Visitors to the hospital's OB and Special Care offices who are feeling under the weather are being asked to postpone their visits.
Lahey Clinic, along with other hospitals and medical centers in Massachusetts, is taking some precautionary measures now to help minimize the spread of the flu to its patients and staff.
"We are encouraging visitors to postpone their visit if they have flu or flu-like illness, or otherwise please wear a mask during their visit," said spokesperson Christine Kenney on Tuesday. "Also, we are aggressively cleaning high touch points and promoting hand hygiene throughout the organization."
Beverly Hospital, which is now also part of the new Lahey Health System, is taking the precautions a few steps further and limiting visits to all inpatient units, according to guidelines posted on the hospital's website.
As of Jan. 9, visitors under 18 or those have a fever, chills or cough are temporarily prohibited from entering inpatient units -- siblings under 18 can visit the maternity ward though.
Healthy visitors over 18 are limited to two at a time in a patient's room.
Kenney noted that Lahey highly recommends getting a flu shot as the best defense against the virus and both Lahey in Burlington and Beverly Hospital have held flu shot clinics for the public recently.
Kenney said it's not too late to get a flu shot -- they are still available at Beverly Hospital -- and also shared the following recommendations for minimizing the spread of influenza:
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective and can be found throughout our facilities.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, including a fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, fatigue, body aches and chills.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.