No visitors

Signs have been posted at all Penn Highlands Healthcare facilities, including Huntingdon, asking sick individuals, particularly those with flu or cold symptoms, to refrain from visiting the hospital until they are have been well for 24 hours.

Penn Highlands Healthcare announced Thursday that, for the sake of patients’ health, any sick individuals should refrain from visiting any of its hospitals, including Huntingdon.

“We remind visitors of being mindful of not visiting when ill, especially during the flu season, October to March, each year,” said Dr. Deepak Garg, infectious disease physician with Penn Highlands Healthcare.

The hospital asks those with cold or flu symptoms — especially a fever, cough or stomach virus — to refrain from visiting.

“Visiting a patient while you are ill, especially with the flu, can potentially give patients a new infection and can delay healing. In the worst case scenario, it can cause respiratory failure for that patient,” said Garg.

Before coming in, visitors should be symptom-free for 24 hours.

For those who are sick, Penn Highlands Hospital asks that they should seek medical help for themselves when they have: fast or troubled breathing or shortness of breath; bluish or gray skin color, especially in children; not drinking enough liquids, especially in children; severe or persistent vomiting; difficulty waking up or are not interacting, especially children.

Though flu and cold season is not worse than previous years, staff have been seeing more people visiting with symptoms.

Most viruses are spread through respiratory droplets, and it is harder for patients who are newborns or who are already having health issues to fight off a virus.

To further prevent the spread of flu or cold, according to the Center for Disease Control, individuals should be sure to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing and frequently wash their hands with soap and water.

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