As the H1N1 virus continues to spread, a growing number of hospitals are no longer allowing children and teenagers inside unless they are patients.
Hospital visitors under 18-years-old are being turned away because the swine flu is more prevalent in young people, putting them at greater risk of carrying the virus into a place where health is already compromised.
"We're actually here to visit my grandma, great-grandma for these two little guys," said hospital visitor Kristin Hunziker. "So it's disappointing but I totally understand that it's definitely in the best interest of keeping everybody safe."
Children who look and feel fine are also being turned away since those who catch the virus often don't have symptoms for the first 24 hours, but are still very contagious.
Banning underage visitors was virtually unheard of before this.
All competing hospitals in a region - like all 18 in southeast Virginia - are voluntarily instituting the same policy.
"If you're a mom about to have a baby you probably would like to bring your other children in to meet their new brother or sister very early on," said Dr. Gene Burke vice president of Clinical Effectiveness at Sentara Hospital. "There's a value to that, but right now we believe the risk to the other patients in the building, of a child coming in, exceeds the value of that connectivity."
Young visitors will be kept away from hospitals until the H1N1 threat is a thing of the past which will be springtime at the earliest.