Hospitals limit visitors to prevent flu spreading

January 11, 2019

As the number of flu-related deaths rises in North Carolina, hospitals are taking steps to prevent the virus from spreading.

Starting Friday children ages 11 and under can’t visit inpatients at UNC REX Hospital.

WakeMed Hospital and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville have taken similar action.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, one-third of parents plan to skip flu shots for their kids this season.

The report found 179 children died from an illness linked to the virus last season. Of them, 80 percent were not vaccinated.

Part of the reason could be that many people think you can get the flu from the vaccine.

WRAL’s Dr. Allen Mask said that’s a misconception.

“There is just no evidence of that,” Mask said. “We give thousands of flu shots here over the years, and we sometimes go on site where we give 100 to 150 at a time, where we monitor what the reactions are to that, and we just aren’t seeing that.”

Mask said the flu shot involves a dead virus, and the side effects are miniscule.

Skipping the shot, he said, will put children at risk.

The CDC recommends the vaccine for anyone 6 months or older.

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