Several flu patients fighting for their lives at UM hospitals

Health system issuing temporary visitor restrictions at all facilities

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan Health System said Friday it had more than a dozen adults and children on life support in its hospitals because of the flu.

The health system said most of the patients, who are otherwise healthy, have the H1N1 strain (also known as the Swine Flu) and either didn't get a vaccine or didn't get it in time to fully protect them.

There are several other hospitalized within the health system who are in less severe condition from the flu.

UMHS said the spike in the flu has led it to issue the temporary visitor restrictions:

People with any flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and cough should not be in hospital rooms at U-M's University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, the U-M Cardiovascular Center and the Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms -- whether they are a patient or a visitor who absolutely needs to come -- must wear a mask while they are at any UMHS facility. Masks are available at entrance desks.

No children under the age of 12 will be allowed to visit any UMHS patient who has suspected or confirmed flu, or other conditions that cause staff to place them in a kind of protective status called "droplet precautions." Also, children under 12 will not be allowed to visit any patient in the adult Bone Marrow Transplant unit.

UMHS staff who have contact with patients must either have been vaccinated against the flu, or must wear a mask when they are with patients. If they develop symptoms, staff members must stay home until 24 hours after their fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and they have a controlled cough and respiratory symptoms.

UMHS is reminding the public that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccine, with very few exceptions.

There's still plenty of flu vaccine available, and UMHS patients may contact their clinics and offices to arrange for vaccination.

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