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SCKMC Prepares to Fight the Flu

January 7, 2014

South Central Kansas Medical Center is just beginning to see patients trickle into the ER with flu-like symptoms, but that has not stopped them from being proactive in preventing the spread of the illness.

Arkansas City,KS - South Central Kansas Medical Center is just beginning to see patients trickle into the ER with flu-like symptoms, but that has not stopped them from being proactive in preventing the spread of the illness.

The medical center instituted a strict visitation policy on Tuesday, and is asking patients and guests to take some standard precautions to protect themselves and others.
Hospital visitation is allowed between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Guests are requested to limit themselves to only necessary visitation, and anyone with flu-like symptoms not visit. In addition, the visitation policy prohibits children under the age of 12 from visiting the facility.


In Ark City, the medical center is following the guidance of State regulators to stay ahead of the demand. All public entrances will have sanitation stations complete with surgical masks, and hand sanitizer for visitor use.

"We want to protect the community, and also protect our patients and employees from coming into contact with someone who is contagious," said Shelley Pinnegar, SCKMC's Employee Health Nurse and Manager of Nursing Services.

The symptoms of the flu are common and may include fever, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, dry cough, nausea, diarrhea, and extreme tiredness.

Pinnegar warns that just because you may have some of these symptoms it does not necessarily require a visit to your family physician or the emergency room.

"We are seeing an increased number of patients through the ER with symptoms of the flu, but only a small number are actually positive for the flu at this point. If you're sick stay at home, don't go to public places. If you've been around someone who's been ill, you have an increased risk of becoming ill as well. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting that could lead to dehydration, or if there is an inability to wake the person. Otherwise, contact your family physician during regular hours for nonemergencies," Pinnegar said.

Medical Center staff insist that the key to limiting the number of individuals who will come down with the flu this season is in immunization and preventing the spread of the germs. Pinnegar recommends staying with the basics of good hygiene, frequent hand washing, covering your cough/sneeze with your elbow, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, regular cleaning of touchable items such as telephones and light switches, stay home when you are ill to avoid spreading the virus, and finally thoroughly cleaning the home if someone in the family does come down with any of the symptoms of the flu.