With the increase in the number of flu cases in Connecticut, Norwalk Hospital has taken steps to implement patient safety procedures and ongoing health education.

The hospital has imposed temporary restrictions on visitors. Only visitors age 18 and older will be permitted to visit patients.

In addition, the hospital is asking people who are ill and experiencing flu-like symptoms, which include cough, sore throat, fever, chills, runny nose and body aches, not to visit patients. In special circumstances, parents or caregivers of a patient may be required to wear a protective mask.

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Hospital officials said the flu policy is essential in order to ensure the best care to patients, and to keep the patients, as well as staff and visitors safe.

Erin Fitzgerald, R.N., infection control coordinator for Norwalk Hospital, said, "We can all help to prevent the spread of the flu by simply washing our hands often. We all accumulate germs on our hands from a variety of sources. You can infect yourself when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after touching a contaminated surface. It is important to wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap and rub them together vigorously for 15 seconds. Then rinse well and dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel. You may also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that do not require soap."

In addition to hand washing, there are other precautions you can follow to help protect both yourself and others against the spread of flu germs, including getting a vaccination; cough into your elbow, rather than your hand; and if you are sick, stay home and take care of yourself.