H1N1 Minnesota FluLine

H1N1 Telephone Hotline
Friday Oct 23, 09

Residents can call the Minnesota FluLine (MN FluLine) toll-free, 1-866-259-4655, if they exhibit flu like symptoms and need information and treatment options. Professionals will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People with limited English skills will be connected withan interpreter. There is no charge for the call.

Callers with flu symptoms will be connected with a participating nurse at MN FluLine, or a nurse at a triage line operated by their own provider network or health plan. The nurses will evaluate the health concerns of callers and discuss treatment options, using consistent criteria to determine which treatment option is most appropriate for each individual.

Possible treatment options can include rest and fluids at home, a prescription for an antiviral medication, or medical evaluation in a clinic or hospital.

FluLine is also expected to help decrease the spread of the flu. By providing assistance over the phone, the new service is expected to limit the number of potentially infectious people who gather in emergency rooms, urgent care centers and clinics.

MN FluLine is the first influenza triage line in the country providing statewide reach and the option of prescribing anti-virals drugs under standing orders from a physician.

The Minnesota FluLine was created specifically to meet the needs of people with possible symptoms of the flu. By definition, those symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees or more, along with a cough or sore throat. Flu symptoms can also include runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and/or fatigue. In some cases, symptoms of novel H1N1 influenza can also include vomiting and diarrhea in addition to respiratory symptoms.

In most cases, people can recover from the flu at home without needing to visit a health care provider. Those who may be at highest risk for complications from the flu include children under two years of age, people 65 years of age or older, pregnant women, and people with underlying medical conditions.

Health officials continue to emphasize prevention measures as the first line of defense against the flu: stay home if you're sick with a flu-like illness, cover your coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or a tissue, and wash your hands frequently.

For most people, staying home when they are sick means staying home from work or school, and avoiding other locations where they could expose others to the flu, until at least 24 hours after their fever resolves, without the aid of medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. People are being encouraged to get vaccinated now against seasonal flu, and get the H1N1 vaccine as it becomes available. The H1N1 vaccine will be an extremely valuable tool for preventing infection.