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Minnesota FluLine

If you think you have the flu, you can talk with a nurse on the Minn. Department of Health's flu hotline – (866) 259-4655.

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As a contagious and airborne disease, it's important to take precautions to avoid getting and spreading the flu.

Everyday Precautions

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze. Put the tissue in the trash after use. If you have sneeze, but don't have a tissue handy, sneeze into your elbow. A sneeze can spew up to 40,000 droplets of moisture from your nose, mouth and lungs. Avoid sharing them with your neighbor.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • If you become sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities.

Flu Vaccines

Federal health officials recommend a seasonal influenza shot as the "most important step" in protecting against the seasonal flu. The Minnesota Department of Health website will help you find a seasonal flu shot clinic.

With the emergence of the H1N1 flu virus, a new vaccine is being manufactured to provide protection initially for health care works and vulnerable populations. The first batch of H1N1 vaccines are expected to arrive in early October. Both the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 flu shot can be administered on the same day. However, you cannot receive both vaccinations on the same day if you receive the nasal mist version of the vaccine.

Certain groups will likely receive flu shots first when they become available. These groups include: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

More information on the H1N1 flu vaccine is available from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Antiviral Medication

In some cases, your doctor might recommend an antiviral drug if you get seasonal or H1N1 influenza. These are prescription medications that help fight the flu virus by limiting its ability to reproduce in your body.

People at risk of flu complications — such as pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions — are more likely to be prescribed an antiviral medication. Most people are able to recover from seasonal and H1N1 flu at home without requiring any professional medical care.