Buncombe gears up flu-prevention programs; Mission limits visitors

Area hospitals are limiting visitors to help prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Mission Hospital in Asheville and Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville are limiting a patient's visitors to immediate family or designated caregivers. The hospitals are asking children and teens to stay away because of the high rate of the the H1N1, or swine flu, among that age group. Hospital officials are also reminding people about good "cough etiquette" — sneezing or coughing into a tissue — and about washing their hands thoroughly before and after a hospital visit.

Last month, Buncombe County public health officials warned the public to be prepared for the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, and to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu virus.

Seasonal vaccines are now available at the Buncombe County Health Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. until Oct. 7. The cost is $30 and can be paid by cash, check, MasterCard, Visa or through health insurance.

Public health officials will also hold a flu vaccination clinic Oct. 8-10 at the Biltmore Square Mall. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Oct. 8, and from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 and 10.

To bill insurance, a person must present an insurance card before a shot can be given. If an insurance company refuses payment, those who received a shot will be responsible for payment. For more information, call the Flu Vaccine Hotline at 250-6400 or check the website, www.buncombecounty.org.

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