Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
Parkland Hospital is asking parents not to bring children to the hospital unless necessary as part of its effort to prevent the spread of the flu.
Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is asking parents not to bring their children along when they visit the facility.
"We're asking parents to think before they bring their kids to the hospital about whether or not they really need to be there," said Janet Glowicz, a nurse epidemiologist and the hospital's director of infection prevention.
The move is an effort to prevent the spread of the flu, hospital representatives said Monday evening.
"We're not going to bar anybody, so it's not a mandate," Glowicz said. "It's not a hard-and-fast rule. It's just something we want the public to think about."
"We want healthy children to stay healthy, and we want to focus our care on the sick folks," she said.
If a parent must bring their child with them into the emergency department, a hospital staff member may ask the parent if the child has had a cough or a fever. And if the answer to either question is yes, the staff member may ask the child to put a medical mask on, according to a hospital news release.
Parkland is currently awaiting delivery of more masks so they can provide all children, healthy or sick, with protection.
At least one parent did not need any extra warning from the hospital.
Maria Cerrato said she left her two children at home Monday while she visited a relative in the emergency department.
"And with the whole flu and everything going around, I wasn't going to risk them getting sick," she said.