Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 | 3:26 p.m.
University Medical Center announced today a new policy to keep children and teenagers up to 16 out of high risk areas at the hospital on West Charleston Boulevard.
Departments with high-risk patients such as cancer, labor and delivery, pediatrics and the burn unit will be off limits to those 16 years old and younger.
As the H1N1 novel influenza strain spreads widely in Nevada and 45 other states, the hospital said it is taking this step as a precaution.
Adults and children who are sick with flu-like illnesses are being treated in certain areas at UMC.
This new visitor policy will be in effect for an undetermined amount of time, since H1N1 first appeared in the United States in mid April and has continued to spread throughout the year.
The Southern Nevada Health District announced six deaths from the H1N1 flu on Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the Las Vegas area to 18.
Hospital officials are encouraging everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine, noting that the FluMist nasal spray is safe for those 2 to 49 years of age in good health. Pregnant women are not allowed to take the FluMist, because they have lower immune systems and the live virus in this form of vaccine could affect unborn fetuses.
The No. 1 way to prevent against catching or contaminating homes, schools, offices and other places is to wash hands frequently, hospital officials said.