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Why Some Hospitals Are Banning Flowers and Balloons

Flowers, balloons and other traditional get-well gifts are no longer welcome in many hospitals that are increasingly focused on reducing the risk of infection and allergic reactions.

Some health-care facilities are tightening restrictions on where flowers, plants, balloons and other cheery items are allowed, citing concerns about the potential for infection, among other risks.

Most intensive-care units have been no-flower zones for decades. Many hospitals now have banned latex balloons out of concern for latex allergies. Now, some are extending limitations to ICU step-down units, cardiac-care units, pediatrics, labor and delivery units.

Hospitals have been working intently to reduce their rates of healthcare-associated infections, which can affect a hospital’s quality ratings and Medicare reimbursements. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one such infection, according to the CDC.

Read more: MSN