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County Opens H1N1 Flu Information Phone Line

A nurse will answer residents' questions in English or Spanish

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is implementing an H1N1 flu information phone line where questions from residents about H1N1 influenza will be answered by a nurse in English and Spanish.

The phone line, 888.722.6358, will be in operation during business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of business hours, a message may be left for a later response.

H1N1 flu is a new virus to which humans do not have a natural immunity. Estimates are that H1N1 flu could affect as many as one in three people this season. Now is the time to learn more about the virus, take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, and develop plans for families and businesses that may experience caring for sick members and absenteeism.

The H1N1 flu information phone line nurse will be able to respond to questions on a wide variety of H1N1-related topics, including vaccines, preventing the spread of the flu, caring for an ill person, when to seek medical care and how to plan for the effects of the flu.

“The Public Health Department is very pleased to provide a knowledgeable resource to our community as H1N1 flu is both similar to and different than seasonal flu in some ways and it can be complicated to understand,” interim director Michele Mickiewicz said.

The H1N1 flu information line will be reinforcing the key message of prevention. Vaccinations for both seasonal flu and H1N1 are recommended when they are available. In addition, simple yet powerful steps such as thorough hand-washing, covering coughs and avoiding close contact with those who are ill can be effective methods of protecting from the H1N1 virus.

For more information about H1N1 flu and how Santa Barbara County is preparing for it, click here or call 888.722.6358.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

 

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