Flu Cases on Rise in Connecticut

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London has temporarily restricted patient visitation due to a sharp rise in the influenza virus in the area around the facility.

    The flu is "widespread" in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and now a local hospital is taking steps to keep it under control and protect its patients.

    Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London has put in place a restriction on patient visitation because of the rise in flu infections. It's the second hospital to do so in a matter weeks.

    "Flu or influenza is much more common when there are climate changes," Dr. Nissin Nahmias, a surgeon at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, said. "That means that the area the hospital is in is having a rise in the cases and that usually makes institutions take high guard to prevent those kinds of outbreaks."

    Backus Health Center in Colchester did the same thing on Dec. 14 when it issued restrictions because of a flu outbreak.

    Dr. Nahmias wouldn't say whether the flu season has started earlier than normal but said getting the flu shot doesn't mean you are immune from sickness.

    "That doesn't guarantee that we're not going to have an outbreak or that you're not going to get sick," Dr. Nahmias said.

    Lawrence and Memorial officials said visitors to its hospital will be limited to immediate family or caregivers over the age of 18. No more than two adults can come in at one time.

    Dr. Nahmias said it is not wise to see someone in a hospital if you have symptoms of the flu.

    If you have flu-like symptoms, experts recommend staying well hydrated, taking something for a cough and always washing your hands thoroughly--whether or not you're sick.

    Nahmias said those who might have visited someone sick at Lawrence and Memorial in the last few days should not be worried.

    "I don't think people should get more concerned or panic in any shape or form unless they're having symptoms or feel ill," he said.