H1N1 keeps hospitals busy

Health officials say washing your hands regularly is key to avoiding swine flu

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has limited visitation and Palmyra Medical Center has taken in record numbers of emergency room patients in the past week as health officials try to control the spread of swine flu.

Palmyra hasn't restricted visitors to the hospital, but is pushing swine flu awareness. Palmyra's ER has seen 140 patients almost every day in the past week, up from their average of 80. Phoebe has also seen more flu-like symptoms in patients, and decided to restrict visitation. Phoebe's plan is to limit two visitors to one patient, and those visitors must be primary caretakers.

"If you need to be here to help in their care, that's important, we respect that, and you should be here. If you're here as a casual visitor, you may actually be creating problems for the patient and for yourself , but also for our staff," Dr. Doug Patten, Phoebe Chief Medical Officer, said.

Health officials say if you're pregnant, a child, or a senior citizen you should stay away from the hospital unless you need medical care because those populations are at most risk for swine flu.

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