Information for families of hospitalized flu patients
Your family member is hospitalized with a serious respiratory illness. It is important to take infection-prevention measures.
- If you are living in the same household with the patient, or have been in close contact with the patient before he or she was hospitalized, you may already have been exposed. For the protection of your hospitalized loved one, for yourself and for our staff, it is important that you NOT visit if you are ill. Our staff may ask you questions about your health before allowing you to visit.
- You may be asked to wear a mask when you visit the patient. This is for your own protection, the patient’s protection and the protection of other people you contact after leaving the patient’s room.
- Wash your hands frequently so you will not pass the virus from your hands to other people. Wash with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. You also can use alcohol-based gel sanitizers. Rub your hands until the gel is dry.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands when done.
- If you are worried that you have been exposed, you should telephone your physician for advice. Some people are more vulnerable to serious complications. If you have emphysema, heart disease, diabetes or other chronic health problems, call your doctor’s office. Your physician may want to see you and prescribe medications.
- Most people who get the flu require no specific treatment other than rest, lots of fluids and perhaps acetaminophen for fever (aspirin is not recommended).
- If you get flu symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat and aches, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Limit visitors so you have contact with as few people as possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You may take over-the-counter cough medications. Unless you have been told to avoid acetaminophen, you may use it for fever as instructed on the bottle.
- Call your doctor if you do not start to feel better within five to seven days, or if you have chronic health problems such as lung or heart disease. See a doctor right away if you develop trouble breathing, cannot take fluids or have trouble thinking clearly. Either go to your doctor’s office or go to a local urgent care center or emergency room. If you are not feeling well you may need to ask someone to drive you. Call 9-1-1 if you are having an emergency.
- For answers to some of the questions you are likely to have, the CDC website's frequently asked questions about influenza is a helpful resource. Please don’t hesitate to talk to your nurse about your concerns.