This winter's flu season has been so severe, three Central Georgia hospitals are asking children under 12 to stay away.
The request from Central Georgia Health Systems affects Macon's Medical Center of Central Georgia, Peach County Hospital and the Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital.
Effective immediately, people under 12 will not be allowed to visit.
They say that's because the flu is hitting young people particularly hard.
Of course, they also say that anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay out of public places -- like work, school or theaters.
Their full statement:
CGHS Committed to Proactively Protect You, Your Family and Your Caregivers During A Heavier Than Normal Flu Season
MACON, GA (Thursday, January 17, 2013) - With influenza circulating in the community and primarily affecting young people, Central Georgia Health System (CGHS) has set up a first line of defense. CGHS has implemented a youth visitation policy for the protection of patients, visitors and hospital staff.
Effective immediately, children must be age 12 or older in order to visit The Medical Center of Central Georgia, The Medical Center of Peach County and Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital.
"The health of our patients and the community are the highest concern of Central Georgia Health System. Our policies and actions are designed to protect those at greatest risk during the flu season," said Dr. Delanor Doyle, Chief Medical Information Officer for The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
Administrators at CGHS based the decision to restrict visitation on information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the prevalence of influenza in the Central Georgia region at this time.
Individuals with flu-like symptoms and those who have recently had the flu are encouraged to remain at home and stay away from public areas, including school, work, theaters or other areas where people are in close proximity.
Anyone with symptoms of a cold, or others with immunocompromised health status, are encouraged not to visit the hospital for their own protection as well as that of seriously ill patients.
"We appreciate the community's understanding and cooperation with these efforts to minimize exposure during this active flu season," said Dr. Doyle.