In an effort to combat the spread of flu among patients and staff, Kingman Regional Medical Center is requiring all healthcare workers who did not receive a flu vaccine this year to wear a surgical mask while attending to patients. This policy will remain in effect until the end of the current influenza season when there is a significant drop in flu cases, as determined by the KRMC Infection Control Department. Vaccinating healthcare workers protects patients and reduces employee absenteeism during influenza season. Therefore, KRMC strongly recommends that all hospital employees receive an annual flu vaccine. If an employee declines vaccination, they are required to sign a statement in lieu of vaccination. Additionally, during the declared influenza season, it is mandatory that unvaccinated employees wear a surgical mask while in patient care areas. This year’s flu season is expected to be severe. Currently, the Kingman area is just beginning to see a significant increase in influenza cases. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that influenza is currently widespread in 43 states, including several that adjoin Arizona. Numerous deaths have already been associated with influenza this winter in the United States. To reduce your risk of getting the flu and to protect family and friends, it is important to follow the CDC’s recommendations:
- Obtain a flu vaccine. It is still not too late to receive the vaccine from your doctor or pharmacy. It is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
For further information about the flu and KRMC’s infectious disease policies, please contact the KRMC Infection Prevention Department at 692-2708.