PRESS RELEASE: Protect yourself from Flu, Limit Hospital Visitation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System
For Immediate Release
February 18, 2011

Boone, NC (February 18, 2011) – Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) hospitals are seeing an increase in patients with Influenza-like illnesses and positive flu screening tests. As a result, ARHS asks the public to voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure, if the visitor is sick with flu-like symptoms.

Sick thermometer“We appeal to the community regarding visitation restrictions in an effort to protect our patients,” stated Claire Cline, Vice President of Patient Care Services. “Patients can be extremely vulnerable to influenza, so our facilities want to take every appropriate precaution.”

Blowing Rock Hospital, Cannon Memorial Hospital and Watauga Medical Center are working diligently to prevent the spread of the flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide.

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes the virus can be spread when a person touches something infected with the flu and then touches their nose or mouth. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu:
Protect yourself, your family and your community

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
* If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
* Get the recommended flu vaccine.


* Fever
* Cough
* Sore throat
* Body aches
* Chills
* Fatigue
* Runny or stuffy nose
* Headache
* Diarrhea
* Vomiting

Most people recover after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worse cough
* In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

For more information about the flu, visit

To learn more about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit