The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed the flu widespread in Iowa.
On the heels of this, Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque and Dyersville says nearly 20% of all patients tested at their facilities are positive for influenza.
That is why Mercy Medical Center Infection Preventionist, Gail Gates, and members of the Bi-Hospital Infection Control Committee have decided to implement limited visitation at the Dubuque and Dyersville campuses, as well as UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital.
The hospitals are asking children 14 and under, as well as anyone who is sick, to avoid visiting patients at the hospital.
Gates has also placed three-step germ prevention stations at the entrances of Mercy in Dubuque.
The stations include hand-sanitizer, tissues and masks.
Gates says sanitation practices are something that should be applied outside the hospital, as well.
"Keep our hands clean; touching our mouth and our mucous membranes, not a good idea," said Gates. "First and foremost, get your flu shot. It is the best way to protect yourself."
Gates says it may not prevent the flu, but it will limit the severity.
"We are ramping up. I think it might be a heavier flu season, this is just my opinion. It’s not based on anything other than Australia had their worst influenza season last year and they are the southern hemisphere. Now, we are in the northern hemisphere, and it does move up," said Gates.