Winchester, Va. - Valley Health System has put restrictions on visiting hours at all of their six hospitals due to the nationwide flu outbreak.
Visitors must be at least 18 years of age, and must visit during one of two four-hour time slots.
"In close spaces, you can spread the germs very quickly. And so that's really the reason that we've moved to visiting hour limitations at this point," said Glen Bouder, M.D., the Medical Director of Critical Care at Winchester Medical Center.
They say that the outbreak could cause serious damage if it infects a hospital, and believe that limiting visitation from relatives is one of the biggest prevention tools they have.
"It's not really clear why those things occur. We are seeing a resurgence of H1N1 this year, and that increases the severity of these cases. So we're taking extra precautions," Bouder said.
Restrictions will remain until late winter or early spring.
They've notified hospital patients with flyers and have had nurses making personal rounds to speak to each individual.
"The good news is, is that the influenza vaccine this year includes a protection against that specific strain (of H1N1) that we're seeing a resurgence of. So go get your flu shot,” Bouder said.
Doctors at Valley Health hospitals are encouraging everyone, visitors and general public alike, to get a flu vaccination, as it could save your life.