Public Health

Hospitals Turning Away Visitors with Flu Symptoms

They've got enough illness to go around


People who wish to visit loved ones in the hospital take heed: At some medical centers, a cough or a sneeze will probably get you turned away.

As public health officials struggle to contain the spread of influenza, pertussis and norovirus, a growing number of hospitals around the country are placing restrictions on visitors to protect their patients from infection. Hospitals in at least 10 states have asked visitors with flulike symptoms not to visit patients. Some are placing outright bans on children and teenagers, fearing they may be most likely to infect patients.

Most hospitals, though, are also making exceptions — for instance, in cases where a loved one is critically or terminally ill.