PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Hospitals in Central Illinois are becoming overwhelmed due to increasing seasonal flu activity.

OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, UnityPoint Health’s Methodist, Proctor, and Pekin campuses, Hopedale Medical Complex, and Kindred Hospital have asked the public to voluntarily limit hospital visits as a precautionary measure to prevent further flu spread.

The request is a result of data gathered by Peoria City/ County Health Dept and Tazewell County Health Dept. that indicates a severe increase in flu activity.

The following are recommended practices from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health and Center for Disease Control Prevention that are effective on Nov. 21,

  • Visitors should be at least 18 years of age and older. This will minimize patient exposure to children, who are known to be high risk for transmission of viral infections and will also help protect children from contracting an illness while visiting the hospital.
  • Limit of two visitors per patient.
  • Individuals who are not feeling well or have had flu-like symptoms in the past seven days should not visit hospitalized patients. Flu-like symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and/or sore throat. 
  • When entering and leaving a patient’s room, everyone should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand foam/gel. Washing helps limit the spread of disease.
  • People should cough or sneeze into their arm, shoulder, or tissue (not hands) to reduce the spread of germs that can be passed from hands touching surfaces or people. 

Tips on avoiding the flu can be found here.