How dangerous is swine flu?

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Woman holding tamiflu
Q: How dangerous is it?

A: The good news is that for most people infected, their illness has been mild and they have gone on to make a full recovery. Only a small number of people have become severely ill. The The World Health Organisation still describes swine flu as a 'moderate' illness, saying that most people recover without the need for hospitalisation or medical care. In the UK, the NHS has been warned to prepare for anything between 19,000 and 65,000 deaths, although most people who are infected don't have severe symptoms. Although 19,000 sounds like a lot, in some years that many people die during normal flu outbreaks, which puts it into perspective. And early doses of Tamiflu have been effective in helping people to recover.

Q: Is the vaccine safe? Even if I'm pregnant? And when will it be available for my kids?
A: The government will only use vaccines after they have been licensed by the European authorities. The licence will be issued by the European Commission following advice from the European Medicines Agency. The vaccine will not be licensed if it is considered unsafe. The European Medicines Agency, who license the vaccine, will tell us whether it can be given to all pregnant women or whether it should only be offered at certain stages of pregnancy. The good news is that the vaccine will not harm you or your unborn baby. Pregnant women and children will be the priority for the swine flu vaccine when it becomes available in the UK. Read more on our swine flu advice for pregnant women and babies
Will you vaccine your kids against swine flu? Vote now in our new poll

Q: Does Tamiflu go out of date?
A: Yes it does, each pack has an expiry date on it. Read our article on giving your kids tamiflu and the side effects of Tamiflu

More on swine flu

Swine flu need-to-know guide - we give you all the facts and figures

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Source: NHS, World Health Organisation

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