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Oregon opens swine flu hotline to answer public's questions

Oregon Public Health has opened a flu hotline to answer the public's questions.

The hotline (1-800-978-3040) has nurses to talk to about symptoms, prevention advice, concerns about flu exposure, taking care of others and when to see a doctor.

"Most people recover from the flu on their own with rest and fluids. But sometimes it's helpful to talk to a medical professional to decide if you need to go to the doctor," said Dr. Paul Cieslak with the Oregon public health immunization program.

Hotline operators can tell callers about vaccine availability and answer many basic questions about both seasonal and H1N1 flu.

These services are available throughout the state, in nearly any language, and the call is free. Oregon is one of the few states to offer this service.

"We want everyone in Oregon to get the best information and advice about the flu," Cieslak said. "And we want to make it easy for people to stay home when they're sick, unless they really need to see a doctor."

The Oregon Public Health Flu Hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.flu.oregon.gov.