HARTFORD — The state now has a special hotline to address questions and concerns about the H1N1 flu virus.
The hotline is staffed by the state Department of Public Health from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, state officials said.
The H1N1 hotline is: 1-800-830-9426.
According the officials, the public can now get the most up-to-date information this flu season on the swine flu, including vaccine availability, clinics and recommendations for staying healthy and keeping your family healthy.
Novel H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. The virus can spread likes seasonal flu, especially through coughs and sneezes. Novel H1N1 influenza symptoms are similar to symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, lethargy, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting with novel H1N1 influenza.
Gov. Jodi Rell’s office said Connecticut is expected to begin receiving about 20,000 doses of the intranasal H1N1 vaccine this week for use in children 2 to 4 years of age.
The intranasal vaccine has received federal approval for use in healthy persons 2-49 years of age, who are not pregnant. DPH, in accordance with the state H1N1 vaccination distribution plan, advises that the initial shipments of the intranasal vaccine be used for healthy children 2-4, who are at greater risk for severe illness if they contract the H1N1 or the so-called swine flu.
The first round of vaccine is also being made available to vaccinate caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months of age and hospital healthcare workers and Emergency Medical Services personnel with direct patient contact, officials said.
After the initial shipment of intranasal vaccine, the state is expected to receive more than 500,000 doses of both the injectable and intranasal H1N1 vaccines by mid-October and then several thousand more in weekly shipments thereafter.
More than 1,500 doctors and other health care providers have registered with DPH to administer the H1N1 vaccine this flu season.
Prevention is the key to staying healthy this flu season. The Department of Public Health offers the following recommendations:
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
* Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
* Stay away from people who are sick.
* If you get sick, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
For more information on the H1N1 virus or the seasonal flu in Connecticut visit: http://www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch