Preventing flu spread: Children’s Hospital initiates temporary ban on visitors under 12

MILWAUKEE -- To help prevent the spread of the influenza virus and protect the health of patients, families and staff, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is temporarily not allowing kids under the age of 12 to visit patients in the hospital beginning Thursday, Feb. 8.

According to a news release from the hospital, the policy does not include clinic appointments.

"The volume of flu has been huge this year," Julie Fuller, MD with Shoreview Pediatrics on Milwaukee's East Side said.

Hospital officials said this year's flu season is one of the most severe we've seen in recent years. Throughout Wisconsin and the country, hospitals are reporting much higher levels of influenza activity than past years and experts say it still hasn’t peaked. It's been busy at Shoreview Pediatrics.

Shoreview Pediatrics

Julie Fuller

"Twenty kids on Monday, and 12 out of the 20 were flu positive," Fuller said.

Since September, more than 3,800 people in Wisconsin have been hospitalized with the flu -- 176 of them children.

"The young and the old are really the ones who have the most serious symptoms from the flu," Fuller said.

The problem is how contagious and dangerous the flu is. Many children’s hospitals across the country have taken similar precautionary steps. By restricting patient visitation, it will limit potential exposure to the influenza virus, hospital officials said.

"The young and the old are really the ones who have the most serious symptoms from the flu," Fuller said.

According to the news release, both the Milwaukee and Fox Valley hospitals will have visitor restrictions.

The restriction will be lifted as soon as possible.

Updates will be provided by CLICKING HERE.

It's not too late to get vaccinated if you haven't already, experts say. Fuller said it's the best way to protect yourself and your family.

"It's still beneficial because it lessens the symptoms and the duration of the illness," Fuller said.

Also, make sure to wash your hands regularly and if you're showing any symptoms of the flu, stay home from work or school.

"We still have another round to go," Fuller said.

FOX6 News checked with some hospitals in the Milwaukee area and Aurora and Froedtert officials said they haven't changed their policy regarding visitors.