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Hospitals across the Cape Breton District Health Authority, including the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, are under visitor restrictions because of the flu. (CBC)

The Cape Breton District Health Authority has imposed visitor restrictions at all of its hospitals, community health centers and continuing care facilities as a precaution against the flu.

Greg Boone, a spokesman for the Cape Breton District Health Authority, said officials are trying to head off outbreaks being experienced in other parts of the country such as Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

"Flu is serious in all cases because if you are already sick with another illness or have a chronic condition and have a weakened immune system, then it could make you even sicker and lead to complications," he said.

"If you don't sometimes look after yourself, if you don't get enough rest and fluids and such you could also end up with more serious illness and complications."

Under the restrictions, patients can have two visitors at a time and they must be immediate family or next of kin.

People who are sick or live with others who are sick should not visit, while children under the age of 12 should stay away, the health authority said.

Boone said visitor restrictions began at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital last week and have been extended to all its facilities because officials are seeing dozens of cases of Influenza A and gastrointestinal illness in both patients and staff.

"There are some similarities to what flu is being experienced elsewhere, not only in this Atlantic region but across the country," he told CBC News.

"We're seeing Influenza A is what's been confirmed, but there may be other strains as well. The decision was made to move in this direction as a precaution to help limit the spread."

Boone said 35 staff members have missed work because of gastrointestinal illness. He did not say how many more have the flu.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority said the visitor restrictions will stay in place under the number of people sick with the flu and gastrointestinal illness decreases.