Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs. There are many types, and the infection is constantly changing. Until now it has not normally infected humans, but the latest form clearly does, and can be spread from person to person - probably through coughing and sneezing.
General information can be found on the following website:
What is the current situation?
The situation changes daily and up to date information can be found on the following websites:
You can also telephone the following number to hear the latest information about swine flu:
0800 1 513 513
What are the symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms of swine flu will be similar to ordinary influenza: sudden onset of cough or and a fever. Other symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Aching muscles
- Difficulty breathing
What should I do if I develop flu-like symptoms? Where can I seek advice?
If you have recently returned from a country where cases have been reported and/or are suffering from flu like symptoms, you should stay at home and contact NHS Direct or by calling 0800 1 513 100. Do not go to your GP's surgery unless you have been advised to do so. You should stay indoors until you have recovered. To contact NHS Direct:
NHS direct (0845 4647)
How does the infection spread?
Influenza mainly spreads from person to person through close contact. Coughing and sneezing within a metre or so of another person can expose them to infectious droplets.
Hands can become contaminated through touching someone who is unwell, or through touching door handles or other hard surfaces contaminated with the virus. If you then touch your mouth before washing your hands you can catch the infection.
What hygiene measures should I take to limit the risk of being infected by the flu?
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a waste bin.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and always wash your hands after using the toilet and before preparing and eating food.
Clean your hands on arrival at work and as soon as you get home after work.
Avoid touching your mouth or nose unless you have recently cleaned your hands.
The importance of hand washing in controlling the spread of infections, especially those that cause diarrhoea and vomiting, colds and flu cannot be over emphasised. Correct hand-washing procedures are vitally important and are often not carried out properly. Please take the time to learn how to wash your hands properly on the following websites:
I've just returned to the UK from a country where there has been an outbreak of swine flu. What should I do?
If you develop flu symptoms within seven days of leaving an area where there has been an outbreak, stay at home or return home and contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647) for advice.
I'm due to travel overseas. Should I go?
Health authorities are advising against all but essential travel to Mexico. You should also postpone travel to other areas where outbreaks (more than one case) have occurred.
If you are due to travel anywhere else in the world in the next few weeks, check the FCO website regularly for advice as this may change rapidly:
N.B. Maintain good hygiene practice, as outlined above, wherever you go.