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Local officials dealing with flu season ills

ELKINS — While many cases of the flu are being reported locally and throughout the nation, officials point out there are several ways to prevent catching and spreading the illness.

Julie Phillips, the infection control director at Davis Medical Center in Elkins, said DMC is not restricting visitation due to the flu at this time.

“We’re just asking our visitors to avoid unnecessary visits if they are at all feeling ill or having any signs of the flu,” she said, adding that hospital visitors are encouraged to utilize the respiratory and hand hygiene stations located throughout the facility.

“These stations have a method of sanitizing your hands, tissues and masks that folks can wear to help protect the others around them from spreading disease– especially if they have any symptoms of being ill.”

Phillips stated that while some patients are hospitalized for the flu each year, the majority of patients suffering with the virus treated by the hospital are managed in the outpatient area.

“Patients are seeking care with their doctors’ offices or clinics or emergency rooms, and they’re being able to be managed at home and not really requiring hospitalization. It’s really not been a burden at all,” she said.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity throughout the nation is currently high and expected to continue for weeks.

Phillips suggested several methods to follow in order to avoid contracting the influenza virus.

“Vaccination is still a very key prevention method, and we still have vaccines available for patients,” Phillips said, emphasizing the importance of good and frequent hand hygiene.

Phillip also stressed respiratory etiquette, which includes covering coughs and sneezes and avoiding public places, if possible, where illnesses have the potential to spread to others — like hospitals, churches or grocery stores.

“If you’re just not feeling well, it’s better to stay home and avoid public places where disease can spread very easily to lots of people,” she said.