Be a Considerate Guest During Cold and Flu Season

A Q&A with Mary Ann Kellar, RN, BSN, CHES, CIC, Infection Control Director at Christian Health Care Center

Q. I visit my aunt at Heritage Manor Nursing Home every week. What are some basic guidelines for visitors during cold and flu season?

A. Proper hand washing is the most effective method for preventing the spread of infection, so be sure to sanitize your hands before and after visiting. Insist that health-care providers do the same before and after caring for your aunt. Since items contaminated by dirty hands can spread illness as well, avoid sitting on your aunt’s bed, using the toilet in her room, and touching any medical equipment.

Q. For the past couple of days I’ve had a head ache and feel a bit sore. Is it okay for me to visit my father in The David F. Bolger Post-acute Care Unit?

A. Please stay home! Our residents and patients are at particular risk for germs from the community. Your head ache and soreness may be symptoms of the flu. You can infect others with the flu virus beginning one day before symptoms develop, and up to seven days after becoming sick. And never visit if you’ve had a fever, cold, cough, rash, sore throat, and/or diarrhea, or if you have vomited, in the previous three days.

For more information about cold and flu prevention, call (201) 848-4463, email, or visit our Publications section.

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