The Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital is adding visitor restrictions after an increase in the number of Influenza A cases.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said a number of kids with influenza symptoms have needed specialized treatment at the hospital, including oxygen masks and ventilators.

“We know that in our intensive care, there are currently eight patients with influenza, and there are two patients there who have been discharged,” said Dr. Terry Klassen, medical director for the WRHA Child Health Program. “We have 28 patients confirmed in our wards.”

People are asked to postpone a visit to the hospital if possible, avoid bringing children – or others who become sick easily – and wash their hands diligently.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit visits are restricted to parents, and are limited to two people at a time.

“What we’re dealing with is Influenza A. There’s a wide variety of sub-strains within that category, but what we’ve noted is that the vaccine has been effective at covering a broad spectrum of those,” said a spokesperson with the WRHA Friday.

The WRHA said last year, a large number of patients were presented at ERs and had to be admitted to hospital for influenza symptoms.

It noted a downtrend for 2016, to moderate levels, with the difference being the people treated tend to be younger – adults under the age of 65 – requiring a higher level of care.

In previous years the focus has been on small children and seniors.

Influenza can spread through coughing and sneezing, but it can also be transferred on surfaces.

To keep healthy this flu season, the WRHA advises frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, getting a flu shot and seeing a doctor if symptoms become severe.