Visitor restrictions across UNC Hospitals for children under 12

To ensure the safety of our patients, children ages 11 and younger are prohibited from visiting inpatient areas and waiting rooms at UNC Hospitals beginning Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. These restrictions were previously in place for the Newborn Critical Care Center (NCCC), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) at UNC Hospitals.

UNC Hospitals has experienced an increase in the number of cases of viral influenza among our patients. Beginning Monday, Jan. 23, children ages 11 and younger are prohibited from visiting inpatient areas and inpatient waiting rooms at UNC Hospitals.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Why are children under 12 unable to come to the hospital during certain times of the year?
    Children 11 years old and younger cannot visit when the Flu Alert visitor restrictions are in place because children get sick more often than adults and when children get sick their bodies do not fight off infection as fast as adults. Children with respiratory viruses can spread their illness to others for up to two days before they have any symptoms of being sick. Almost half of children with viral respiratory infections do not have any symptoms, but can still spread the illness.  

    We understand that visitor restrictions present challenges for families and can be difficult for children who have a loved one in the hospital. However, it is important for the safety of all UNC Hospitals patients that children 11 years old or younger not visit inpatient areas and inpatient waiting rooms during these periods. Encourage children who wish to visit to write letters instead, or help them stay connected through Skype or FaceTime.
  • What about extreme circumstances? 
    If there are extreme circumstances during the Flu Alert visitation restriction time period and a patient requires a child 11 years old and younger to visit, any exception must be made by Hospital Epidemiology. During the day, please call 984-974-7500 for an exception and after hours please page the on-call infection preventionist at 123-7427.  
  • What should you do if you have a fever and either a cough or sore throat?
    Per UNC Hospitals’ policy, employees with fever and either cough or sore throat should stay home and not work, even if they have received a flu vaccine.  

Additional resources:

  • For more background, view this message from Dr. David Weber, MD, MPH, Associate Chief Medical Officer, UNC Hospitals. We will continue to monitor the need to alter these restrictions as flu season progresses. Your assistance with this important patient care issue is greatly appreciated.
  • View the weekly Flu Surveillance Reports on our flu webpage.
  • View our Clean In, Clean Out hand hygiene webpage and remember to wash your hands!