Skip to main content


Controlling the spread of colds and flu


Many St. Jude patients are at greater risk for getting sick from influenza (flu) and other viral infections because of their diseases and treatments. We need your help to protect the health of your child and all St. Jude patients. The flu virus is spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing. If you are near an infected person who is coughing or sneezing, you might breathe in the flu virus. You might also become infected by touching something such as a door handle or a toy that has a flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose. It is very important to clean hands often. It helps prevent the infected person from spreading the virus. It also helps keep those who are not infected from getting the virus.

Do you have symptoms?

Visitors who have cold and flu symptoms should not come to St. Jude until they are free of symptoms and do not have a fever for at least 24 hours. If you are a parent or caregiver, you need to tell the staff if you have a fever along with any of the following cold and flu symptoms: coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, or fatigue.

If you have a fever and any of the symptoms above, please stay home or in your private room at St. Jude housing. If you are the only parent in town to take your child to St. Jude appointments, please call your child’s primary clinic or social worker to discuss treatment options for your child. 

Does your child have symptoms?

If your child has a fever and cold or flu symptoms, call the clinic and tell them about the symptoms before coming to the hospital. The clinic staff will most likely ask you to enter the hospital through the PCC isolation entrance. In this case, your child will be seen by a clinic staff member as soon as possible. If your child has fever along with cold or flu symptoms, staff members may be wearing facemasks when examining your child
and providing care.

If you arrive at St. Jude and think your child might have a fever and cold or flu symptoms, tell the staff at the front desk of the Patient Care Center, Chili’s Care Center, or Tri Delta Place. If your child is coughing, sneezing, or has a runny nose, they will give the child a mask and alert other staff members so your child will be seen in Assessment and Triage or the clinic right away.

Isolating symptoms in patient housing

If you are staying in patient housing and you or your child has cold or flu symptoms, please stay in your room and avoid the common areas, unless it is necessary that you visit these areas. If you or other family members have a fever along with coughing, sneezing, or runny nose, ask for facemasks at the front desk of your housing facility. Please wear these masks especially in common areas and on St. Jude shuttle buses. Also, remember to clean your hands often.

What else can you do to control the spread of infection?

It is possible for people infected with a flu virus to infect others even a day before symptoms appear. Also, you never know who has the flu and who does not. So, follow good infection control practices as a routine habit. They not only protect us from flu but also from other infections.

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your face with your arm or a tissue. Then, throw the tissue away and clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; germs spread that way.
  • Get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available to you.

What about vaccine to prevent flu?

There is one seasonal flu vaccine. St. Jude provides the seasonal flu vaccine to your child, and offers it to parents, other adult caregivers, and siblings who are four years old or older based on how much vaccine is available. Having all members of the family vaccinated helps provide a circle of protection around the patient. It is one way to keep the virus from coming close to the patient.

Plans may change

We thank you for helping us prevent the spread of colds and flu at St. Jude. As more information becomes available, the details of our current cold and flu prevention plan may change. We thank you in advance for being flexible. As always, our goal is to provide the best and safest care for your child and all St. Jude patients. If you have questions about any part of this infection control plan, please talk to your child’s doctor or nurse.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).