The Bug Stops Here Program
The Bug Stops Here
Flu, colds and pneumonia sicken millions each year, mostly during the winter months. In 2002, 114,000 people in the United States were hospitalized and 36,000 died of complications from the flu alone.
Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth is working to educate area residents on the importance of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls “respiratory etiquette” for those who are coughing or sneezing. This includes a few simple tips for preventing the spread of winter illnesses. Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth’s effort is dubbed, The Bug Stops Here. This program is voluntary, however the hospital is hopeful that people will cooperate once they realize its importance.
This flu season, the hospital is asking that visitors stay home if they are ill. If you must come to the hospital, please leave children who are not feeling well at home. While visits from family and friends play a key role in a patient’s recovery, many patients have lowered immune systems that leave them at greater risk for infection.
For those who must come to the hospital, there are masks provided at the main entrances for visitors or patients to wear if they have respiratory symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever or headache. There is also a sign and a brochure at these locations explaining the program.
Those entering the emergency department with similar symptoms also will be invited to put a mask on and report their symptoms at the registration desk when they sign in, even if the symptoms have not prompted their visit.
The masks are also available for anyone who is concerned about “catching a bug” while visiting the hospital.
The CDC and Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth also recommend the following tips to help stop the spread of flu and other winter illnesses:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing and coughing and discard it in waste containers. Please do not leave tissues lying on chairs, floor, etc.
- If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow, rather than into your hands. You can easily spread germs with your hands.
- Wash your hands or use a waterless hand sanitizer often, especially after coughing, sneezing or using the restroom. (The hospital has installed dispensers throughout the facility.)
- Avoid touching your eyes or nose, as these are the primary entry points for cold and flu viruses.
We can all take an active role in helping to prevent the spread of the flu and colds and keep families healthy in winter.