Kent State University and Akron Children’s Hospital took steps Friday to address the spreading threat from the influenza and related respiratory viruses.
Kent State students are being encouraged to skip the start of the spring semester Monday if they’re suffering flu-like symptoms.
KSU Provost Todd Diacon told students in a campuswide email they are “strongly advised” not to attend class or other public events if they have fever, cough and body aches.
“We’d rather they stay home and get better and make up the classwork,” Diacon said.
The Ohio Department of Health reports 1,922 influenza-associated hospitalizations statewide as of Jan. 5, compared to 86 at the same time last year.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 44 states are experiencing high levels of influenza-like illnesses.
Akron Children’s Hospital’s stricter visitor restrictions, effective immediately, include:
• All visitors should be healthy, free from fever, cough, colds or stomach virus symptoms.
• Visitation by children under the age of 14 years is limited to siblings only.
• No more than two visitors (in addition to parents/guardians) should be in a patient room at any time.
• Only parents or guardians should visit in the hospital’s critical care areas — PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), Special Care Nurseries, Burn Center and Hematology/Oncology. Parents/guardians may arrange for visitors, on a limited basis.
• In general, only children seeking evaluation or treatment at the hospital should be brought to the facility.
• Playrooms are only open to patients and their parents/guardians. Siblings must remain in the patient’s room.
“Patients are often surprised by how very ill they feel with influenza,” said Dr. Angela DeJulius, Kent State’s chief university physician. “Prescription antiviral medicines can sometimes help to reduce the duration of illness, but are not a cure.”