LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Baptist) — Visitor restrictions are still in effect at Baptist Health Lexington and with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the arrival of flu season, the hospital is taking extra steps to protect patients and staff by updating visitor guidelines and encouraging everyone to get their flu shot.
Visitors are now limited to those 18 years old and older.
Visitation for non-COVID patients is limited to one designated person with some special exceptions.
All visitors will continue to be screened before entering the facilities, they must wear a mask at all times and continue to social distance.
With the arrival of flu season, the community is asked to use even more caution before visiting and to check the visitor guidelines available at Baptisthealth.com/Lexington.
Chilly fall days mark the beginning of flu season and getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year, with the virus that causes COVID-19 still spreading. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all people older than six months.
“With COVID-19 still prevalent across the world, this is not the year to avoid getting a flu shot to protect ourselves and others,” said Dr. Mark Dougherty, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with Baptist Health Lexington. “To avoid suffering from both the flu and COVID-19 we must remain vigilant with socially distancing, wearing a mask, and washing our hands.”
There are many strains of the flu virus, and there’s no guarantee that the combination chosen for this year means you won’t get the flu. However, getting the vaccine provides benefits even if the flu bug bites you.
“If you have the flu shot and still get the flu, symptoms should be milder,” said Dr. Dougherty. “Flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations for children, working age adults, and older adults.”
Baptist Health strongly supports the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendation that everyone six months of age and older should get the flu shot. In particular we especially encourage certain high-risk groups to be vaccinated, including:
- Children age six through 59 months and their caregivers
- Women who are or will be pregnant during flu season
- Those age 50 or older
- Those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
- Anyone over six months old with chronic health problems and their caregivers
- Nursing home and long-term care facility residents
- Healthcare workers. Baptist Health requires its employees to have a flu shot unless there are medical or religious reasons why the person cannot be vaccinated.
Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent the flu, with its fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.
Patients are always welcome to get flu shots during regular hours at our participating Baptist Health Urgent Care locations.