Visitor restrictions at IU Health NICU to begin Monday

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Winter visitor restrictions at the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will begin early this year.

Officials say beginning Monday, September 15, no visitors younger than 18 (except parents) or visitors who are ill will be allowed in the NICU.

Other IU Health facilities limiting NICU visitors are IU Health Methodist, North, West, Bloomington, and Arnett hospitals.

This comes after doctors say a respiratory virus, Enterovirus D68, is likely the cause of an increase in emergency department visits and hospitalizations of children at hospitals across the Midwest, and in Indiana.

“There have been cases now confirmed of D68 in the metropolitan and surrounding areas,” said Dr. Elaine Cox, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

However, doctors say there’s no need to panic.

Doctors say Enterovirus D68 is an uncommon strain of a common virus. They say enteroviruses have cold-like symptoms. The D68 strain has more wheezing and coughing. Other symptoms include runny nose, headache, body aches and congestion. In some cases, there can be difficulty breathing and fever. It mainly affects babies, children and teens.

Doctors recommend contacting your family physician if you feel your child has these symptoms. If they’re not around, and your child is wheezing, visit an emergency room.

“If your child has symptoms of trouble breathing, and I mean significant trouble breathing, they’re sucking in, you’re seeing their ribs, they’re breathing fast, they’re not acting normally, then you should call your physician,” said Dr. Paul Haut, Chief Medical Officer for Riley Hospital for Children.

Doctors are also asking people not to visit the hospital if you’re sick, and to limit the number of extra visitors you bring.

24-Hour News 8 also checked with other hospitals to see if they’re putting any restrictions in place. No other hospital has announced restrictions yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

Click here to see Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health’s FAQ sheet on the virus.

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