Swine flu: The facts
What are the signs?
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?
A new strain of Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, was confirmed in the UK in April 2009.
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Roughly 200 countries around the world also reported cases of swine flu.
Although symptoms have generally proved mild, a small number of patients will develop more serious illness.
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Many of these people have other underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that put them at increased risk.
Patients with swine flu typically have a fever or a high temperature (over 38�C / 100.4�F) and two or more of the following symptoms:
shortness of breath or cough
loss of appetite
diarrhoea or vomiting
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:
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
Immunosuppressionwhether caused by disease or treatment)
Diabetes mellituspatients who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years
If you think you have swine flu symptoms, stay at home and contact your GP. They will be able to assess you and decide what treatment is appropriate.