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Swine flu: Everything you need to know about Swine flu symptoms and vaccine

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Model pig with a swine flu mask on
Swine flu is the name that was given to a new type of flu virus which broke out in 2009, it is now considered a strain of the normal seasonal flu which is part of the annual flu vaccine.

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a type of flu (influenza). It usually affects pigs but it can also affect humans. The virus can be transmitted from human-to-human. Before spring 2009, the virus rarely passed from human-to-human.

A new strain of the swine influenza virus called influenza H1N1v emerged in Mexico in spring 2009. This new strain spread easily from human-to-human and began to spread, affecting people in many countries, including the UK. When a strain of influenza spreads easily between humans and causes many cases in several countries, this is called a pandemic. In the winter of 2009/10 it reached a pandemic stage when many people were affected all over the world. Early in 2010 the number of new cases began to fall and in August the World Health Organisation announced that we are in post pandemic stages.

The virus is now one of the seasonal flu viruses that circulate each winter and is no more dangerous than normal flu. Most people have some level of immunity to the virus and it's much less of a concern than in 2009-10.

Swine symptoms



Seeing as Swine flu is now considered part of the normal flu virus, the symptoms are pretty much those that you're already familiar with such as a fever and aching muscles.

Here's a full list of flu symptoms:

  • Sudden fever

  • Aching body

  • Feeling tired

  • Dry, chesty cough

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Loss of appetite

  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain

  • Nausea and being sick


  • Swine flu treatment

    Much the same as flu that you or your child may have had before, there's only so much you can do to treat Swine flu. The most important thing is to get lots of rest by sleeping as much as possible in a warm, comfortable place and drink fluids. If you're experiencing aching pains, take painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

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    Swine flu vaccine

    Your child will be protected against Swine flu as part of their yearly flu nasal spray. This vaccinationconsists of one squirt in each nostril and will be available free on the NHS for children aged two, three and four years old and in school years one, two and three. If your child is aged two to 17 with long-term health conditions they may also be eligible.

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