Virus prompts hospital visitor restrictions

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Wilson Medical Center has implemented visitor restrictions on a particular floor due to an influx of a respiratory virus.

Officials said they’ve seen an increase in what’s known as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages.

Children 12 and under are not allowed as visitors on the 2 East Floor at the hospital. Visitors showing any signs of respiratory symptoms are also not allowed on the floor, according to Wilson Medical Center marketing and development director Lisa Briley.

RSV causes mild, cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing.

RSV can affect people of any age and while it is mild in adults and older children, it can be devastating to children less than a year old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says five to 20 people out of the 1,000 who contract RSV will be hospitalized and most will be infants younger than six months old.

The infection can spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes or by touching areas that have been exposed such as doorknobs or by direct contact such as kissing, health officials said.

It usually lasts three to eight days but in more severe cases can last up to a month.

Health officials say prevention is key and encourage people to wash their hands, stay away from people who are sick, keep sick children home and cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough.

Officials say they haven’t seen an uptick in flu cases but people are still experiencing cold-like symptoms. Briley said out of the 200 people who were tested for flu through the emergency room in the past two weeks, only three came back positive.

Flu season is usually between October and May and peaks between December and February.

Officials urge folks to get their flu shot if they have not already done so.