Swine flu is the common name given to a relatively new strain of influenza (flu) that caused a flu pandemic in 2009-2010.
It is also referred to as H1N1 influenza (because it is the H1N1 strain of virus).
From now on, these pages will refer to the illness as H1N1 flu.
On 10 August 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the H1N1 influenza pandemic was officially over. We have now entered the post-pandemic period.
However, it is important not to ignore H1N1 flu.
The H1N1 flu virus will be one of the main viruses circulating this winter. Therefore, WHO has announced that the H1N1 flu virus will again be included in the 2016-17 seasonal flu vaccine.
It is still recommended that people in high-risk groups continue to be vaccinated with the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. This includes all pregnant women.
When the seasonal flu vaccine becomes available in September 2012, all pregnant women, including those who are not in high-risk groups (if they have not previously been vaccinated against swine flu) are advised to take the seasonal flu jab.
This is because there is good evidence that all pregnant women are at increased risk from complications if they catch H1N1 flu. For more information, see Advice for pregnant women.
Until now, only pregnant women in high-risk groups were advised to take the seasonal flu vaccine.
What to do if you have H1N1 flu
People with H1N1 flu typically have a fever or high temperature (over 38C or 100.4F) and may also have aching muscles, sore throat or a dry cough (see Symptoms of swine flu). The symptoms are very similar to other types of seasonal flu. Most people recover within a week, even without special treatment.
If you think you have H1N1 flu, see your GP. They will decide the most appropriate action to take.
The National Pandemic Flu Service no longer operates.
Some people are more at risk of complications if they catch flu. People are particularly vulnerable if they have:
- chronic (long-term) lung disease
- chronic heart disease
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurological disease (neurological disorders include motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease)
- immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment)
- diabetes mellitus
Also at risk are:
- patients who have had drug treatment for asthma in the past three years
- pregnant women
- people aged 65 and over
- children under five
To stop the virus spreading
The most important way to stop flu spreading is to have good respiratory and hand hygiene. This means sneezing into a tissue and quickly putting it in a bin. Wash your hands and work surfaces regularly and thoroughly to kill the virus.
Anyone who is concerned about flu symptoms should contact their GP by 'phone, who will determine the most appropriate action to take.
DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY AS THIS COULD PASS THE VIRUS TO OTHER PATIENTS