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Times of India
12 August 2009
Mumbai, India

The queries ranged from the very serious to the absurd. “Will I get swine flu if I sit near the window seat of a local train? Will I get it through mosquito bites, or if I use a public toilet?” The team of doctors manning the civic helpline for swine flu queries has been facing a barrage of frantic queries from worried citizens.

The BMC’s helpline provides counselling, guidance and awareness about swine flu, and on Tuesday, health officials answered over 1,500 queries.

“A team of nine doctors takes calls from 9 am to 9 pm. The doctors work in three shifts, and there are 10 dedicated phone lines for answering queries,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner of BMC.

Health officials said they have been inundated with calls not only from Mumbai, but from other parts of the country as well. “We are getting calls from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Bihar. A majority of the queries are related to symptoms of swine flu and precautions to be taken against the disease.

Callers also want to know whether it’s safe to come to Mumbai,” said a doctor who was handling the queries.

The doctors said they have been constantly reiterating the fact that swine flu is an airborne disease. “We are also getting calls from people who have gone abroad or are planning to visit another country. We are advising everyone to take simple precautions like covering their faces with a two–layered handkerchief, wash their hands after they have gone out or come in contact with an outsider,” said a senior health official.

He said that parameters like nutrition, drinking eight to ten glasses of water, proper sleep and exercise also play a major role in preventing an H1N1 attack.

Dial 108 for Help
BMC’s Helpline Number: 108
Timings: 9 am To 9 pm
All Panchgani Schools Closed Till Aug 18

All the 42 schools in Panchgani have been closed till August 18 to tackle the outbreak of swine flu among schoolchildren. Meanwhile, seven people, who were suspected to be infected by H1N1 ,were admitted to Krantisinh Nana Patil govt hosp in Satara on Tuesday.

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