Swine flu got its name from the fact that people used to catch it directly from pigs, although a new strain means that this is not the case anymore
As with the seasonal flu, it can develop into serious health problems for certain people, particularly young, old, expectant mothers and anyone with an underlying illness like asthma.
1. What symptoms should you look out for?
A lot of the symptoms of swine flu are similar to the normal flu, so look out for the following:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Runny nose
However, it can lead to more serious problems such as:
- Respiratory problems, such as a lung infection
- Severe vomiting
- Pain in your stomach or sides
If you experience any of the above serious symptoms, call 999 immediately.
2. How does it spread?
Again, just as with seasonal flu, when an infected person coughs or sneezes they spray droplets into the air, and these when someone comes in contact with these droplets they can catch the virus.
The infected person is contagious for seven days after they display symptoms; a child is contagious for ten days.
3. Who is most at risk?
- Pregnant women
- People over 65
- Children under 5
- Anyone with a chronic lung, heart, liver, blood, nervous system, neuromuscular or metabolic problems
- Anyone is long-term care facilities
4. Protecting your unborn baby:
The flu can cause serious complications in newborns so doctors will take the following precautions:
- You may need to wear a surgical mask during labour
- You may be asked to avoid close contact with baby until you have had antiviral drugs for 48 hours
- If you are breastfeeding, you may need to stop nursing until you have received the right treatment; you can continue to nurse which taking flu medications, however always talk to your GP.
The flu vaccine can help to protect you against swine flu, and over-the-counter medication can relieve any pain and discomfort.
6. Stop the spread
- Always wash your hands with soap and water
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Avoid anyone displaying symptoms of the flu