Hospital and nursing home closed to visitors to help stop spread of flu virus

Until further notice, both the Avera  Gettysburg Hospital and the Oahe Manor nursing home are closed to visitors in an effort to decrease the spread of the influenza virus. This move is an effort to contain the flu and enhance the overall well-being of the community.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, flu activity in South Dakota has reached “widespread” levels and people are encouraged to heighten their vigilance in preventing the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that this year’s flu outbreak in the United States is the most widespread in decades.

“We are trying to be pro-active to stay ahead of this and keep our residents, patients, community, and staff safe and healthy,” said Robert Sheckler, who serves as the administrator for Avera Gettysburg.

The spread of the flu is happening quickly, and the hospital has seen entire families who are all testing positive for the virus. Classic flu symptoms include high fever, coughing, and a running nose. Once the flu sets in, it’s common to have full body aches as well.

Here are a few tips for keeping yourself and the ones you love healthy:

• Practice proper hand hygiene – use warm water and soap when possible and alcohol hand sanitizer (it’s a good idea to keep a bottle with you).

• Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.

• Get plenty of sleep.

• Avoid places where there may be many sick people.

• Cover your mouth/nose when coughing/sneezing (with a tissue or the crook of your arm).

• If you are sick – stay home. If your kids are sick, keep them home.

• Avoid visiting places like nursing homes and hospitals if you are sick. Hospital patients and nursing home residents are already more susceptible to illness.

The hospital is open to those who need to be admitted for care, but community members are asked to refrain from visiting until the flu season passes.

For additional information, contact the Avera Gettysburg Hospital at 765-2480.

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