Emergency rooms are inundated with flu cases. So, for the most part kids are no longer allowed to visit patients at several local hospitals. And health officials warn that very simple preventative action can save your life.
Genevieve Cano walks around Adventist Medical Center in Hanford with her own protection. "Well because I go around people coughing and I say danger zone," Cano said. "It's very scary."
Cano fears catching the virus, especially after she's watched flu cases increase this past week while she stays with her husband. He is suffering from pneumonia.
Sanitizing stations, stocked with medical masks, are set up all around the hospital.
"I have to say how very important it is to get that flu vaccine, first of all," said Kathy Palusko, RN. "That will go a very long way to save your life."
Palusko is the Director of Infection Prevention at Adventist Medical Center in Hanford. She says kids under 12 are not allowed as visitors right now, unless heading to the neo-natal unit. And that is only after passing a health screening. And if you show up ill, looking to visit, you will be turned away she says.
"We also ask people who are not ill to please do not come in," Palusko added. "Please send your wishes in a greeting card or make a phone call and tell people you care."
Another big safety point often overlooked health officials say is cleaning commonly shared items. "Here I have my cell phone, I'm talking on it, very close to my mouth, right," Palusko said. "Those germs can come right out on it. Would you like to take this now and put it right next to your mouth. I don't think you would. I'd advise people not to do that. Wipe it down. Wipe anything down that is shared like at."
Those are easy steps that Genevieve Cano hopes everyone follows. "Some people ignore the signs, they don't think it's going to happen," Cano said. "It will happen. People die from this."
Health officials also say adults in their 20's to 50's are more frequently showing up with severe flu this season. That's unusual, but they say it's because that age group tends to avoid the flu shot.