Health Dept. reminding of "Flu on Call" hotline as number of flu cases increase statewide

MILWAUKEE – As flu activity increases statewide, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) is reminding all city and county residents that information and medical advice related to the seasonal flu are just a phone call away thanks to Flu on CallTM, a toll-free helpline providing information and medical advice related to flu.

We're told there have been 44 confirmed cases of the flu statewide over the last week, compared to 18 the week before.

“With flu cases increasing statewide, we remind all area residents that getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “If you need to find flu vaccine or have questions related to flu, I encourage you to dial Flu on Call to speak to a trained specialist or medical expert.”

Flu on Call" toll-free helpline

Those in Milwaukee County who are experiencing flu symptoms, caring for someone who is ill, or who have questions related to flu vaccine or flu-related concerns are encouraged to dial Flu on CallTM at 1-855-435-8722.

The hotline is open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as part of a pilot project occurring in two cities nationwide. The project, led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and City of Milwaukee Health Department, allows callers to receive support from trained information specialists and medical experts.

Influenza (the flu) is among the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States. The virus is spread through the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Though common, the flu can be serious, leading to hospitalization and sometimes death in the most vulnerable populations, including infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses.

Flu on Call" toll-free helpline

The flu vaccine is safe, and is recommended for all individuals over six months of age. Those especially at risk for complications from the flu include people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and lung disease, as well as the elderly, pregnant women and young children.

Along with vaccination, antiviral medications can be highly effective in reducing the severity and duration of illness in individuals at risk for complications associated with the flu, as well as for those with persistent or severe symptoms.

The MHD encourages frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow to reduce the spread of the flu, as well as other viruses that circulated during the winter months. Those experiencing symptoms should remain home from work or school, get rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take antivirals if recommended.