Southwest Florida residents are feeling the full impact of a severe flu season, so Lee Health wants to spread the word about how you can protect yourself, where you can find the treatment you need, and answer some questions about flu and cold symptoms:

Protecting Children

The first thing you should know: We strive to keep children healthy. Lee Health is currently restricting children age 12 and younger from visiting all units in hospitals across Lee Health: Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and Lee Memorial Hospital. This restriction will be in place until further notice. Hospital officials will make compassionate care allowances when necessary.

How Do I Prevent the Flu?

There are a few things you and your family can do to stay proactive and protect yourselves from the flu. Lee Health experts ask our community to:

  • Get the flu vaccine as well as the pneumococcal vaccine (a secondary illness).
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands as often as possible.
  • Stay home from work when you are sick, and keep your children home from school.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes. If you use a tissue, please throw it away.
  • Avoid close contact to people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work, or school especially if someone is sick.
  • Practice good general health practices: Get plenty of sleep, stay active, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthier food.

How Does the Flu Spread?

Here are some tips from Lee Health’s Mary Beth Saunders, D.O., system medical director, Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, about the various places we can catch the flu and other germs, including:

  • Restrooms – buttons, levers, handles, any high-touch area
  • Buttons and hand rails – ATMs, store checkouts, staircases, elevators, escalators
  • Gym equipment
  • Shopping carts
  • Gas pumps
  • Desks – keyboards, phones, mouse, stapler, ink pens
  • Handshakes
  • Kitchen sponges, handles, countertops
  • Accessories – purses, jewelry

Where Do I Go For Treatment?

The most important thing for you and your family to know is that we strongly urge you to visit one of our four Lee Health Convenient Care locations if you have the flu. Our clinics are specifically designed to treat flu symptoms in a much easier and faster way than emergency rooms, which handle life-threatening medical issues. As more seasonal residents return and ER wait times increase, you will have a much easier time at Convenient Care.

Convenient Care clinics feature state-of-the-art technology, skilled physicians and technicians, and provide quality care for adults and children in a cost-effective, comfortable environment. No appointment or referral is necessary, and most insurance is accepted.

Our four locations are open seven days a week:

In Fort Myers:

  • 13340 Metro Parkway (near the intersection of Daniels Parkway), open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 16230 Summerlin Road (near Ruby Tuesday and Jimmy John’s), open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 4771 S. Cleveland Ave. (Page Field), open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In Cape Coral:

  • 1682 NE Pine Island Road (near Target and Lowe’s), open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In Naples:

  • Lee Health operates a Kids Urgent Care, 3361 Pine Ridge Road, Naples (in the Golisano-Nicklaus Children’s Health Center), open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

For maps, phone numbers, and other essential information about our Convenient Care centers, please visithttp://www.leehealth.org/convenient-care/index.asp or call 239-481-4111.

ER vs. Convenient Care

Convenient Care medical centers are ideal for sprains, strains, cuts, rashes, cold and flu, auto and work-related injuries, and school or sports physicals. Each site is equipped with X-ray capabilities for fractures and broken bones (not protruding through the skin).

Convenient Care is appropriate when

  • You have a non-life-threatening emergency.
  • You're unable to get an appointment with your primary care doctor.
  • You’re not established with a primary care physician.

“Convenient Care is … a great alternative to using the emergency department for nonlife-threatening medical issues - especially during season,” says Kris Fay, Chief Administrative Officer of Lee Physician Group. “It gives the community immediate access to quality, hospital-affiliated health care provided by our trusted Lee Physician Group physicians and skilled nurses.”