Reading Health System Establishes Flu Hotline
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Reading Health System is responding to the increasing number of suspected influenza cases in the community by making a Flu Hotline 484-628-1FLU (1358) available Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Currently Reading Hospital has about 80 patients being treated in isolation for flu-like symptoms, much higher than the normal rate of 2 - 8 patients. The Emergency Department is also reporting about 100 - 200 patients a day being treated for flu or flu-like symptoms.
The free Flu Hotline is staffed by trained Hospital personnel who will provide information based on the caller's age, reported symptoms, and other health-related conditions. Depending on the information provided, recommendations may be made to: "rest and take fluids and over-the-counter medication," or "make an appointment with your doctor today," or "seek immediate medical assistance."
Flu Hotline information is provided as an educational service by Reading Hospital. The information is not intended to replace a medical consultation with a physician and does not constitute a diagnosis.
PREVENT THE FLU
- Get a flu shot. It is not too late to be vaccinated. Call your doctor or clinic. No matter what anyone tells you: you can NOT catch the flu from a flu shot!
- Avoid sick people whenever possible.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes unless you have washed or sanitized your hands first.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat healthy and be active.
- Sanitize common surfaces at home or work.
KNOW COMMON SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU
It is easy to confuse flu with colds and other health problems. Become familiar with flu symptoms. Otherwise-healthy people with flu symptoms usually do NOT benefit from a trip to the Emergency Department, and are better off at home with over-the-counter treatments to ease their symptoms.
Common flu symptoms include:
- Sudden onset of fever higher than 100° F, or 37.8° C with a cough or sore throat or both
- Nasal congestion and a runny nose
- Headache, body aches, and/or chills
- Exhaustion or overall weakness
CALL YOUR DOCTOR:
- If your symptoms worsen
- If you are pregnant, over age 65, or have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk of flu complications; these conditions include asthma, chronic heart and lung disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system
GET TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT:
- If you become seriously ill with symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, or if you are unable to eat or drink.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF IF YOU DO GET SICK
- If you get sick, stay at home and rest! Most otherwise-healthy people with flu symptoms do NOT need to visit a hospital or physician office. With rest and proper care, your symptoms should go away in 5 to 7 days.
- Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you won't make them sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub.
- Sanitize surfaces you touch throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss and dehydration.
- Treat fever and cough with medicines you can buy at the store.
- Do not return to work or other outside activities until 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines.