Area hospitals recommending masks to fight flu

Posted at 12:16 AM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 00:16:34-05

Flu season is in full force and this year has already proven to be much worse than years past, both across the nation and in Virginia.

The number of cases this year in Virginia is double what they were at this time last year according to a Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System news release.

"We are seeing many more patients in our outpatient offices and our emergency rooms and in the hospital,” says Chief Medical Officer at Riverside, Dr. Barry Gross.

To help protect patients, visitors and staff from further spreading the virus, all Hampton Roads health care facilities are pushing people to mask up.

"As people are coming into the hospital, they are recommended to take an isolation mask, put it on and keep it on the entire time they are in the building,” Gross says.

"I think it's a great idea that the hospitals are promoting that, and I wish more people would go ahead and participate to understand that we don't want to bring any more germs in the hospital than are already here,” says Debbie Whitaker who was visiting a patient at Riverside.

However Dr. Gross says that it's also a good idea to even wear a mask when you go out to places like the mall, grocery store or gym.

Outside of wearing a mask, Dr. Gross says the usual routine of washing your hands and being aware of your environment will help. But, the flu shot, he says, is your best bet in beating the bug.