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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Do you have swine flu (influenza A H1N1)?

The most common symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu, including fever, weakness and fatigue and aching muscles and joints, although, these could be more severe. Certain people are most at risk, including pregnant women, the elderly and young children and people with underlying health conditions.

What is swine flu and how serious is it?

Go to NHS Choices for health advice on swine flu, including causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

A new strain of Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, was confirmed in the UK in April and has spread to nearly 200 countries around the world.

Although symptoms have generally proved mild, a small number of patients will develop more serious illness. Many of these people have other underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that put them at increased risk.

Symptoms

Check your symptoms

Follow the link below or call 0800 1 513 100 (textphone - 0800 1 513 200)

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include:

  • fever
  • lack of energy
  • lack of appetite
  • coughing

Some people with swine flu also have reported:

  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

As with any sort of influenza, how bad and how long the symptoms last will depend on treatment and the patient’s individual circumstances.

Most cases reported in the UK have been relatively mild, with those affected starting to recover within a week.

Who is at risk?

Some groups of people are more at risk of serious illness if they catch swine flu. It is vital that people in these higher risk groups get anti-viral drugs and start taking them as soon as possible – within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Health authorities are still learning about the swine flu virus, but the following people are known to be at higher risk:

  • pregnant women
  • people aged 65 years and older
  • young children under five years old

People suffering from the following illnesses are also at increased risk:

  • chronic lung disease
  • chronic heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease
  • Immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • patients who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years

If you think you have swine flu

If you are in England and you think you have swine flu, check your symptoms online by following the National Pandemic Flu Service link below, or call 0800 1 513 100 (0800 1 513 200 for textphone).

Contact your GP directly if:

  • you have a serious underlying illness
  • you are pregnant
  • you have a sick child under one year old
  • your condition suddenly gets much worse
  • your condition is still getting worse after seven days (five for a child)

Follow the links below for more information.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

As there have been fewer cases of swine flu in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the advice is different.

If you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and you think you might have swine flu, follow the link below.

Advice for businesses

Follow the link below for information on how to prepare your business for swine flu.

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