Cincinnati Children’s Puts Visitor Restrictions in Place

Medical Center Takes Precautionary Measure Due to Increased Number of Respiratory Patients at Hospital

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What are you doing?

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is putting visitor restrictions in place effective immediately as a precautionary measure due to the higher than normal number of patients in the hospital with respiratory illnesses. All visitors should be healthy – free from fever, cough, colds, or stomach virus symptoms. Visitation by children less than 14 years of age is limited to siblings only. Non-siblings who are 14 years of age or older and are healthy may visit in the patient’s room. Only parents or guardians should visit in our critical care areas. We will notify the public when the restrictions are lifted.

Have you ever put visitor restrictions in place before?

Yes. We put visitor restrictions in place at our inpatient campuses each winter when flu season is at its peak (roughly December through February), to protect the children in the medical center and avoid further spread of disease.

Why are you doing this?

We have a higher number of patients than normal in the medical center with respiratory illnesses, which are easily transmitted. We are taking this precautionary safety measure to avoid spreading respiratory viruses to the many visitors who routinely come to see our patients in the hospital. A number of pediatric hospitals in several states across the U.S. have also put these restrictions in place because they, too, are seeing increases in the number of patients with these respiratory conditions.

What are you are seeing, what are the symptoms and how is the virus spread?

We are seeing an increase in respiratory viral illnesses. Symptoms can include: coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and in some cases, fever. Children exposed to second-hand smoke, with asthma or other underlying respiratory illnesses, or with compromised immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The disease is spread through close contact with infected people.

Are you seeing the EV-D68 strain of the enterovirus at Cincinnati Children’s?

We have documented an enterovirus in some patients and are working with Ohio health officials and the CDC to determine if any of these are the EV-D68 strain that has been seen elsewhere.

What should parents do if one of their children is experiencing respiratory illness?

Most children with viral infections will have relatively minor illness. But, if your child is experiencing a respiratory illness and you are concerned, call your family doctor to determine the proper course of action. You should seek medical care if your child’s illness is severe, for example: if your child has trouble breathing or is breathing faster than normal; or, if he or she is not eating or drinking well and you are concerned about dehydration.

Where are the restrictions being put in place?

Inpatient campuses at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s main campus on Burnet Avenue; the College Hill campus; and the Liberty campus are part of the visitor restrictions.

When are the restrictions being put in place and how long will they last?

Immediately. We will keep the restrictions in place until we see a significant decrease in the spread of these respiratory viruses.

Are you seeing more patients than usual at Cincinnati Children’s?

This is a busy hospital on a normal day. But, we are seeing significantly more respiratory patients than we would normally see at this time of year. It’s important to know that the total number of respiratory patients is only about ten percent of our total patient population. Most of our patients are here for other reasons.

About Cincinnati Children’s
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Danielle Jones, 513-636-9473
Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656
Nick Miller, 513-803-6035