By Paul Burton

WINCHESTER (CBS) – As concerns about the flu continue to grow, many hospitals throughout the state have a message for visitors: please stay away especially if you’ve been sick.

Some visitor restrictions are now in place to help keep the flu from spreading.

At Winchester Hospital, children under 13 years old cannot visit the hospital, effective immediately.

In addition, anyone with a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, or nasal congestion is asked not to visit patients as well, regardless of age.

“This is for the safety of both you and our patients,” the hospital said.

Parent Jean Zwahlen called the situation “terribly frightening.”

“It’s frightening, very frightening and healthy people not just compromised people so its very scary,” she said.

Surba Patel has two premature babies in the hospital right now and is glad the staff here are not taking any chances.

“I don’t want them suffering from any additional problems,” she said.

Jean Zwahlen says her son is recovery from surgery.

“If he has a cough, it’s going to affect his recovery,” she said.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital say the flu epidemic is quickly approaching record status. They’ve had 11 patients die from influenza in the past two months.

Mass General has seen hundreds of people hospitalized for the flu and at least 90 members of their own staff have confirmed cases.

Part of the problem is the current flu vaccine is not considered effective enough, officials said.


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