What is swine flu?
Swine flu is a kind of flu that is believed to have originated in pigs. Since April of this year, it has spread quickly and affected thousands of people all over the world. The human form of the illness is caused by the H1N1 strain.
Swine flu in the U.K
The spread of swine flu has been relatively well controlled so far in the U.K; however, thousands of people have been affected by the illness and 242 people have lost their lives.
Symptoms of swine flu
The symptoms associated with swine flu are similar to those related to seasonal flu; these commonly include muscular aches and pains, headaches, high temperature, sort throat, runny nose and a lack of energy and appetite. Commonly, people infected with swine flu will feel these symptoms to a greater degree than with seasonal flu and most people feel more poorly with swine flu.
If you think you have swine flu
If you have 2 or more of the symptoms listed above you are advised to contact the National Pandemic Flu Service. You will be put through to an operator who will ask you a few questions to determine whether or not you have swine flu; if you are diagnosed with the illness, you will be given a reference number which will enable you to get the appropriate anti-viral medication from your local collection point.
Treating swine flu
Most people with swine flu will be given anti-viral medication which will help to combat the symptoms associated with the swine flu virus. You should also try to keep your fluids up and get plenty of rest.
Preventing the spread of swine flu
If you have been diagnosed with swine flu or feel the symptoms coming on, try to isolate yourself and avoid busy areas. Throw away all used tissues and wash your hands regularly; you should also take care to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Swine flu vaccination
The swine flu vaccination is now available in the U.K and is currently being offered to vulnerable groups of people; these include children under the age of 5, people with asthma or respiratory illnesses, people who are suffering from serious health conditions or have a suppressed immune system and vulnerable people over the age of 65. People who work in a clinical setting will also be offered the vaccination.