Swine Flu is now widespread in the UK. Cases of Swine Flu in England are doubling each week. There have now been over 7,500 cases in the UK and it is expected that by the end of August, there will have been more than 100,000 cases. In fact predictions are now suggesting Britain is heading for 100,000 cases every day.
The spread of influenza A (H1Na) is now out of control and the government is changing the way it handles the situation. The UK has now moved from the ‘containment’ phase to the ‘treatment’ phase.
With it being no longer feasible to contain its spread, as part of the new measures, not all people with symptoms will be tested for swine flu. It is also less likely that there will be school closures.
What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?
Symptoms of Swine Flu are the typical symptoms that of the ordinary flu including:
- sudden fever, and
- sudden cough.
Other symptoms may include: headache, tiredness, chills, sore throat, runny nose, aching muscles, limb or joint pain, diarrhoea or stomach upset, sneezing, listlessness and loss of appetite.
People Most at Risk from Swine Flu are:
Although so far most cases reported in the UK have been relatively mild and those affected seem to start to recover in a week, some people are more at risk of developing complications than others.
These include those with heart, kidney or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, pregnant women, young children under five years of age and people with suppressed immune system.
People are most infectious to spreading Swine Flu soon after they develop symptoms.
If you think you have Swine Flu
Stay at home.
Check your symptoms using the NHS Flu Symptom Checker
If you still think you have Swine Flu, call your local GP.
Although it seems impossible to prevent Swine Flu from spreading it is important if you think you have Swine Flu to follow good hygiene practices and to isolate yourself from others and restrict your contact with other people.
Good hygiene practices include:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water to reduce spread of virus from your hands to face and to other people
- Dispose dirty tissues and keep hard surfaces such as door handles, telephones, computer keys etc. clean using a normal cleaning product. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours and on a soft surface for around 20 minutes.
How can you Catch Swine Flu Twice?
It is possible to catch Swine Flu twice if the virus can mutates. Antibodies produced to fight of the original virus may not work against Swine Flu should the virus change although you may have some cross protection due to having encountered a similar virus previously.