Springfield Hospitals impose flu restrictions

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WAND) With an especially bad flu season this year, Springfield hospitals are taking extra precautions. 

Memorial Health System and HSHS St. John's Hospital are imposing restriction in hopes of preventing the spread of respiratory infections. 

Memorial is asking that anyone experiencing flu or cold like symptoms to refrain from visiting patients in the hospital, as well as keeping two visitors to one patient, and visitors be 18 or older. These precautions are meant to help keep those most susceptible to the illness out of harms way. 

"Influenza is like an ice storm in central Illinois it will go through all the trees and what it does is it knocks out weak branches and when we talk about weak branches as an analogy, people who are sick, people who have compromised heart or lung problems, people who are advanced age, if they get the flu they are not at risk of only getting sick from it but from dying from it." said Dr. Steven O'Marro, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Memorial Medical Center and internal medicine physician and infectious disease specialist at Springfield Clinic.

Even those that have gotten a flu shot can still come down with the illness. That is because the match for the flu shot is based on a best guess, and estimated to only be about  ten percent, however it is still recommended that everyone get a flu shot. 

"Ten percent for someone with a weak immune system may be the difference between surviving and not surviving and so we still recommend that people get the flu shot." said Dr. O'Marro. 

While flu season is in full swing, it is not too late to get a flu shot. 

Memorial Medical Center has seen 2008 flu cases so far this season. In comparison, last year at this time the hospital had only seen 18. 

There are currently 11 inpatients being treated at Memorial for the flu.

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