Gerber Memorial shares tips as flu starts to appear in West Michigan
Safeguards in place to contain spread and protect patients, staff
FREMONT (Jan. 9, 2020) – With flu spreading in West Michigan, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial recommends residents follow some simple steps to help minimize symptoms and even avoid the flu altogether, including getting a flu shot and handwashing.
Additionally, people are asked to avoid going to the hospital if they are ill and all visitors are expected to be healthy, with Gerber Memorial facilities taking steps to protect patients, visitors and staff. These include asking visitors about possible symptoms and making facemasks available. Staff are also wearing masks in certain situations to contain the disease. (See warning signs for all ages, below.)
“By taking some simple steps, families can better prepare for the flu and minimize its impact as it starts showing up in hospitals and clinics across West Michigan,” said Teresa Fountain, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial infection preventionist. “Bracing for the flu requires people to take multiple precautions. Even though flu shots are not a 100-percent guaranteed defense against the illness, people should still get vaccinated. And the best defense is really prevention, and that means handwashing, covering coughs and being proactive in staying safe and healthy.”
Gerber Memorial joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts in recommending the following steps to avoid the flu:
Influenza is a respiratory illness that is especially harmful to children, people over 65 years of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions. Common symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills, fatigue and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Fever is another symptom, although not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
Fountain said patients can treat the flu at home with over-the-counter fever and pain reducers, cough medicine and products. Patients in high-risk groups should go to a primary care provider, convenient care or urgent care if they are not experiencing warning signs. People who are experiencing shortness of breath, numbness, facial or arm paralysis, slurred speech or other heart attack or stroke symptoms, should call 9-1-1 for immediate medical care.
Spectrum Health’s telehealth virtual service, Spectrum Health Now, is also available as an app on smartphones.
Michigan is among the hardest hit states for respiratory illnesses this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory illnesses, including RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), can be especially dangerous to the young, frail or elderly.
A healthy visitor is someone who does not have the following symptoms:
WARNING SIGNS OF THE FLU
Gerber Memorial urges patients and caregivers to watch for certain symptoms in high-risk groups and get emergency treatment:
Warning signs in children
Warning signs in infants:
Warning signs in adults
WHERE TO GET HELP: SPECTRUM HEALTH LOCATIONS IN NEWAYGO COUNTY
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Multispecialty Clinic – Fremont: 230 W Oak St,Fremont, MI 49412-1575. Phone: 231.924.4200
M-F 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-noon
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Pediatrics and Walk-In Clinic – Fremont: 204 W Main St,Fremont, MI 49412. Phone: 231.924.1800 M-F 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
(Walk-in Clinic, no appointments needed) M-F 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Family Medicine – Newaygo: 211 W Pine Lake Dr.,Newaygo, MI 49337. Phone: 231.652.1631 M, W, F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; Tu 6:45 a.m.-7 p.m.; Th 6:45 a.m.-5 p.m.
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Convenient Care Walk-In Clinic – Newaygo: 211 W Pine Lake Dr., Newaygo, MI 49337. Phone: 231.652.1631(No appointment needed) M-F 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Spectrum Health Family Medicine – Grant: 230 S Maple St, Grant, MI 49327. Phone: 231.834.5995M-Th 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; F 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Spectrum Health Family Medicine – Hesperia: 78 N Division Ave, Hesperia, MI 49421. Phone: 231.854.6415 M, W, F 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tu 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Th 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Virtual telemedicine, through smartphone
Spectrum Health Now, download the smartphone app.