La Porte Hospital has implemented temporary visitor restrictions to help curb the spread of illness to patients and employees.

As of December 23, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) had described influenza-like illnesses as being widespread in the state. In the same report, the ISDH says that so far this season, the number of flu-associated deaths has been nine in the state.

The temporary visitor restrictions at La Porte Hospital are as follows:

* Only two visitors per patient will be permitted at a time. * Anyone under the age of 18, or exhibiting flu-like symptoms, is not permitted to visit patients. * Before entering or leaving the hospital, please wash your hands with soap and/or sanitizers available throughout the hospital. * Cover your cough. Dispose of used tissues immediately and perform hand hygiene to keep you and your patients safe.

Influenza is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, headaches, and fatigue. Influenza is not what many people call the “stomach flu,” which includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In fact, while some people (especially younger children) with influenza may feel mild nausea or diarrhea, influenza is not the same as a stomach virus or a bacterial stomach infection.

Anyone who has any similar symptoms to influenza, or any stomach-type illness, should not visit patients in the hospital. Influenza can be a dangerous infection, especially for babies, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. There is no cure for the flu, but there are some medications that can ease the symptoms or shorten the length of the illness. If you suspect you have the flu, over-the-counter medications to manage fever, aches, and coughs and congestion may help. If you need medical attention, are elderly, an infant, or have a compromised immune system, it is best to see a doctor within 48 hours of recognizing symptoms, so the right medication to shorten the length of the illness can be given. La Porte Physician Network Urgent Care is open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends. Make an appointment online by clicking Online Check-in at For more information, call (219) 575-6244. The Urgent Care office is located at 508 Legacy Plaza West, La Porte. For emergencies, the La Porte Hospital Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Members of the community can take steps to avoid the flu by getting the flu vaccine, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizers, covering coughs appropriately (use a tissue and discard, or cough into your arm instead of your hands), and staying home from work and school if you are sick. Avoid touching your nose, ears and eyes and avoid being around those who are sick.

For more information about the flu in Indiana, visit and search for influenza. For information in general about the flu visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at