Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update
Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update 209
Overall influenza H1N1 activity, which has been decreasing since the last week of August, has dropped below the baseline in the past week.
There have been 702 hospitalisations of laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 so far this year, including 104 people with confirmed H1N1 admitted in intensive care. These figures do not include influenza-like illness among people admitted to hospital without a positive H1N1 laboratory test result. Fourteen of the 18 swine flu-related deaths reported so far this year were confirmed to be associated with swine flu.
It's still important to seek medical advice early, particularly for people with underlying medical conditions or who are severely overweight or pregnant as they are at greater risk of a more severe illness. If you have flu-like symptoms, phoning your GP first before you go in can help them manage your care and prevent spread to others. For health advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116. Stay home if you are unwell.
Protecting yourself and others
For some people, influenza can be a very serious illness. The main measures to protect yourself and others are:
• Know the symptoms of influenza, which can include a
high fever, headache, cough, sore throat, tiredness and
generally aching all over.
• Phone for medical advice quickly (call your GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116) if you have influenza-like symptoms, including consideration of whether you need antiviral medicine treatment. Antiviral medication may lessen the severity and length of your illness, but is best started within the first 48 hours. Antiviral medication is currently available free of charge for people who are prescribed it for influenza treatment.
• Seeking early medical advice is especially important for women who are pregnant, severely overweight people and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease and other conditions including autoimmune diseases.
• Wash and dry hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if you are sick.
Since the 10 August 2010 announcement by WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan that the H1N1influenza event has moved into the post-pandemic period, the global influenza situation update is now published only every two weeks. The last update from 10 September 2010 is available on: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/2010_09_10_GIP_surveillance/en/index.html.