Swine Flu

Swine Flu is a new strain of the influenza type A virus called H1N1. This strain causes seasonal flu every winter. Luke seasonal flu, Swine Flu can be passed from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The fear is that Swine Flu may mutate and become more dangerous, similar to previous flu pandemics however this has not yet happened.


Although Swine Flu is now a world-wide pandemic with the World Health Organisation predicting it to reach community level in every country by the end of the year, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of catching the virus.

  • – Maintain basic hygiene by covering your mouth when sneezing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • – Avoid those who appear ill or display any of the symptoms listed below


  • – A sudden fever of 38C or more and cough
  • – Tiredness and chills
  • – Headache, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing
  • – Stomach upset loss of appetite
  • – Aching muscles limbs or joint pain

It is important to note that symptoms will vary person to person.

Who’s at risk?

Swine Flu is not a serious cause for concern for healthy people. Those with an underlying health condition are more at risk as Swine Flu can create complications. Those at risk include people with;

  • – Heart, Lung, or Kidney disease
  • – Diabetics
  • – People with a lower immune system
  • – Those treated for asthma with drugs
  • – Pregnant women
  • – Children aged below 5


Treatment of Swine Flu will vary from country to country. You should contact the appropriate governing body for your country by telephone. If there are no special flu measures in place, telephone your doctor. There is no cure for Swine Flu, however a vaccine is currently being developed and is expected to be available by Christmas 2009.

Tamiflu has been used to reduce the chances of complications and the length of illness. Tamiflu is only effective if it is taken at an early stage.

Further Reading

World Health Organisation
European Centre for Disease prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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