October 24, 2018

UAB Hospital updates flu visitation policies for Women & Infants Center

Written by
In an effort to protect the health of our patients and staff this flu season, certain visitor restrictions and precautions will be in place at UAB.

flu baby streamAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80,000 people died as a result of the flu-related complications during the 2017-2018 season, making it one of the highest severity seasons in recent years.

In response to last year’s flu numbers and in preparation for the peak flu season, the University of Alabama at Birminghamis taking extra steps to protect the health of our patients and the nurses, doctors and staff who care for them, starting with specific visitor restrictions. The new protections were implemented at all UAB Hospital locations on Oct. 1, 2018 and will last through April 1, 2019. They include:

  • Visitors to the obstetrical, gynecologic and neonatal inpatient units in the UAB Women & Infants Center must be at least 12 years of age. 
  • Visitors who are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms or who currently have a cold or the flu should not visit UAB Hospital, particularly any of the hospital’s Intensive Care Units.

“We know that when a baby is born, one of the biggest joys is bringing older siblings to the hospital for their first family visit, but this visitation policy is in place to protect your family and your newborn baby, who is truly at their most vulnerable,” said Todd Jenkins, M.D., chair of the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “While the flu is a seasonal virus, it can have serious impacts on the people who visit our Women & Infants Center, including our babies and their mothers, patients undergoing cancer treatment who may have a weakened immune system, and our staff who care for these patients.”

Any visitor who may be exhibiting any symptoms of sickness should not visit UAB Hospital and may be asked to leave based on a physician or nurse’s discretion. In addition, visitors are advised to use hand sanitizer before and after visiting in any patient room, just as all employees and faculty are required to do.

“We strongly recommend that all visitors receive their flu shot up to two weeks before coming to visit any UAB Hospital facility in an effort to keep all patients, staff, visitors and themselves healthy,” said Rachael Lee, M.D., assistant professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “For a majority of the patients across our hospital, the flu and other seasonal viruses can be life-threatening, as their immune systems are compromised and/or weakened, putting them at a higher risk for contracting the flu, which can be life-threatening.”

For those in the Birmingham area who are concerned about the flu, UAB has compiled resources that can be accessed at www.uab.edu/flu. The site will be updated regularly throughout the season. Here, one can get answers to frequently asked questions, learn more about how to protect themselves and their families, as well as find access to preventative flu shots in their community.

“Our utmost concern is to ensure the safety of our patients, families, visitors and team,” Jenkins said. “We appreciate your help in making sure everyone – including our littlest patients – stay healthy this season.”