Terri Fountain, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial infection preventionist, demonstrates how to properly wash hands as a way to help minimize the spread of the flu, to Taylor Tyndall, an intern at Gerber Memorial and Ferris State University health care administration student. Fountain says people should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds. If using hand sanitizer, Fountain says people should rub their hands until the liquid dries.
Gerber Memorial takes steps, offers tips to minimize flu as disease spreads statewide
FREMONT – With flu now widespread across Michigan, including in Newaygo County, 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.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, doctors’ offices, clinics and other area health facilities are seeing an increase in the number of people showing flu and flu-like symptoms so it’s important for our community to know how to prevent flu, when to get care and where to get it,” said Terri Fountain, Gerber Memorial infection preventionist. “The flu shot may not always prevent the illness 100 percent, but people can take precautions to reduce pain and discomfort. The flu season usually lasts until spring, so people can still go and get a flu shot.”
One of the most important tools in fighting the transmission of flu is limiting exposure, Fountain said.
The flu can be especially dangerous to the young, frail or elderly. For the safety of patients and staff, Gerber Memorial is limiting visitation to their hospitals. In addition, they are asking patients to limit the number of people who accompany them to office and clinic visits.
Visitors are asked to respect the following restrictions:
Runny nose or congestion
Vomiting or diarrhea
Rash or draining sores
These conditions apply to visitors at Gerber Memorial and at all Spectrum Health hospitals outside of Grand Rapids and are effective until further notice. These measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients.
Visitors are also asked to get a “healthy visitor” sticker at the main lobby when entering the hospital.
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.
Gerber Memorial joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts in recommending the following steps to avoid the flu:
Treatment can range from staying home and taking over-the-counter medication for less severe symptoms, to visiting a clinic to using the MedNow telehealth service.
Fountain said patients can treat the flu at home with over-the-counter fever and pain reducers, cough medicine and other 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.
Warning signs of flu for kids, adults
Spectrum Health 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