CHARLOTTE — Effective Tuesday, flu restrictions on visitors 12 and under were lifted at Charlotte-area Carolinas HealthCare System hospitals, including Carolinas HealthCare System Anson. A significant drop in the number of patients being seen with flu-like symptoms prompted the change.
Carolinas HealthCare is joining Novant Health, Cone Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in lifting the restrictions at the same date and time to prevent confusion among the public and avoid a patchwork of varying restrictions.
Hospitals affected by the change are: Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville, Carolinas HealthCare System Union, Carolinas HealthCare System University, Carolinas HealthCare System Lincoln, Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland, Carolinas HealthCare System Kings Mountain, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly, Carolinas HealthCare System Anson, Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Charlotte, Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Davidson, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Charlotte, Carolinas Rehabilitation-NorthEast, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mt. Holly, and Pineville Inpatient Rehabilitation.
During the week ending April 8, the last full week measured, 143 patients with flu-like symptoms were seen in the emergency departments of Carolinas HealthCare System hospitals in the Charlotte area. This compares to a high of 439 patients during the week ending Feb. 25. Despite the decline, Carolinas HealthCare System is asking individuals of all ages who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to help control the spread of the illness by not visiting patients in the hospital. Symptoms include: fever, headaches/body aches/pain, cough or sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Carolinas HealthCare teammates who provided a medical or religious exemption and did not receive the flu vaccine will continue to wear masks when providing direct patient care until the end of flu season is declared.
To reduce the odds of getting the flu, Carolinas HealthCare System recommends frequent hand washing with soap or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and getting an annual flu shot.
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care. If you have flu symptoms, in most cases you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. Flu sufferers should rest, drink fluids and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce minor pain or fever. If symptoms are severe enough to require a visit to a healthcare provider, a physician’s office or urgent care center may be the best option to minimize wait times in emergency departments. Emergency departments should only be used for people who are very sick such as those with difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, severe vomiting or signs of dehydration. More information on flu symptoms, urgent care wait times and virtual visits is available at www.carolinashealthcare.org/flu-alert.