By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A local hospital is taking extra steps for patient’s health, asking young visitors not to come to the hospital to prevent the flu from spreading to sick patients.

Flu activity is widespread in Maryland, and all across the U.S. This has forced Anne Arundel Medical Center to ask some visitors to stay away for now.

As thousands of people come down with the flu in Maryland, Anne Arundel Medical Center is taking a major step to protect their patients. The hospital says visitors under 12 years old should not visit.

Adding, that when a new baby is born, the older children should not visit if they’re sick. The hospital is taking these measures to shield current patients from the flu.

Hospitals in South Carolina, Michigan and Illinois made similar requests.

“If a 90-year-old is in the hospital that’s sick and their grandchild comes in with flu, we don’t want the patient to get sick from the flu,” says Mitchell Schwartz, Chief Medical Officer at Anne Arundel Medical Center

And as widespread as the flu is right now, this may not even be the worst of it.

A map from the CDC shows that flu activity is widespread in 46 states.

In Maryland, 1,300 people went to emergency rooms two weeks ago because of the flu. But just one week later, that number shot up to 1,800.

So far this flu season, 19,000 people have gone to the hospital with flu-like symptoms, and that’s in Maryland alone.

Some are wondering: when will it end?

“Yeah. I think it’s something going around, I just feel real bad,” says James Fox, from Baltimore.

“He’s been really sleepy, so it’s kind of scary and tried to give some over the counter medication, but it doesn’t work, he keep having the fever,” says Tian Yang, from Baltimore, about her son.

Anne Arundel Medical Center stresses they are not turning sick people away.

“Just a high prevalence of virus and just don’t want to take the chance, that’s as simple as that,” says Dr. Schwartz.

The medical center says people showing signs of the flu should call their doctor first.

In January, a Lansdowne High senior went into cardiac arrest and died after battling the flu.

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