Chesterton Tribune



Widespread flu prompts visitor restrictions at hospital

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Porter Regional Hospital (PRH) has implemented temporary visitor restrictions to help curb the spread of illness to patients and employees, following a determination by the Indiana State Department of Health (IDSH), on Dec. 23, that influenza-type illnesses are “widespread in the state.”

In the same report, IDSH found that the number of flu-associated deaths had risen to nine.

PRH has accordingly established the following temporary visitor restrictions:

* Only two visitors per patient will be permitted at a time.

* Anyone under the age of 18, or exhibiting flu-like symptoms, is not permitted to visit patients.

* Visiting hours will be strictly enforced.

* Before entering or leaving the hospital, please wash your hands with soap and/or sanitizers available throughout the hospital.

“Influenza is a respiratory illness,” PRH said. “Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. Influenza is not what many people call the ‘stomach flu,’ which includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In fact, while some people (especially younger children) with influenza may feel mild nausea or diarrhea, influenza is not the same as a stomach virus or a bacterial stomach infection.”

“Anyone who has any similar symptoms to influenza, or any stomach-type illness, should not visit patients in the hospital,” PRH noted.

“Influenza can be a dangerous infection, especially for babies, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.”

“There is no cure for the flu, but there are some medications that can ease the symptoms or shorten the length of the illness,” PRH added.

“If you suspect you have the flu, over-the-counter medications to manage fever, aches, and coughs and congestion may help. If you need medical attention, are elderly, an infant, or have a compromised immune system, it is best to see a doctor within 48 hours of recognizing symptoms, so the right medication to shorten the length of the illness can be given.”

Porter’s CareExpress urgent care is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week at locations in Valparaiso, Chesterton and Portage. Walk-ins are welcome, or make an appointment online at

For emergencies, the Porter Health Care System emergency departments in Valparaiso and Portage are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Members of the community can take steps to avoid the flu by getting the flu vaccine, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizers, covering coughs appropriately (use a tissue and discard, or cough into your arm instead of your hands), and staying home from work and school if you are sick,” PRH said. “Avoid touching your nose, ears, and eyes and avoid being around those who are sick.”

For more information about the flu in Indiana, visit and search for influenza. For information in general about the flu visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at



Posted 1/5/2018




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