Published: Jan 18, 2011 12:17 AM EST
Updated: Jan 17, 2011 7:00 PM EST

LEE COUNTY- Lee County and Lee Memorial Health System have continued to experience a steady rise in the cases of seasonal flu. As health care providers, it is our responsibility to protect patients, visitors and fellow team members from influenza infection.

Patient safety is Lee Memorial Health System’s No. 1 core value and during flu season at flu time one way to keep our patients, visitors and the community safe is to prevent the spread of the flu.

That’s why the health system provides annual flu vaccination to all team members free of charge or employees may choose to wear a procedure mask at all times when close contact, within 6 feet, of patients is possible. Those wearing masks will wear them during the entire flu season. You may begin to see employees, patients, physicians and visitors wearing masks in hospitals and other health care facilities today.

What can the community do to help?

· Get a flu vaccine

· Wash hands often

· Stay home when ill

· Cover your cough and, if you use a tissue, dispose of it in a waste receptacle

During flu season, we ask that visitors of patients who have influenza-like illness be limited to only those who are necessary for the patient’s emotional well-being and care. Visitors also will be asked to wear a mask and to wash their hands each time they enter and leave the patient room.

The signs and symptoms of flu include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue. Some may experience vomiting and diarrhea, though it is more common in children. Although, it is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

If you have signs and symptoms of flu, please do not visit the hospitals or other health care facilities. Doing so will help us to protect you and your family from the flu.