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  • Spread of swine flu this winter could pose risk to pregnant women

    Posted on December 27th, 2018 admin No comments

    ‘It’s the same strain which caused the pandemic virus 10 years ago’, health expert says
    Swine flu is expected to be the dominant strain of flu this winter, health experts have stated.
    They warned the spread of swine flu could pose a particular risk to young people and pregnant women.
    The H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, caused a pandemic across the world between 2009 and 2010.

    While the World Health Organisation declared the pandemic officially over in 2010, this winter could see a rise in flu cases attributed to the virus.

    On Thursday, HSE assistant national director of health protection Kevin Kelleher presented the Irish health service’s winter plan.

    He explained swine flu will be the dominant strain of flu this winter, and said the HSE was exploring how it would help people affected by the virus.
    Swine flu does not generally pose a greater threat than other strains of flu.
    However, it can have a more significant impact on the wellbeing of individuals who are especially vulnerable, such as pregnant women.

    “It’s the same strain which caused the pandemic virus 10 years ago,” Mr Kelleher said, according to The Times. “It impacts younger people and pregnant people and they are more likely to end up [in intensive care] if they present in hospital with the flu.”

    Anne O’Connor, deputy director of the HSE’s general operations, also explained that the number of people admitted to hospital with cases of swine flu this winter could put a strain on the Irish healthcare system this year. “It’s important to note that we are already in a very stretched system,” she said. “So our acute hospitals currently work at an occupancy level of about 96 per cent.

    “We know this year that our attendances have been high, we know we have a high level of delayed charges.”

    A vaccine for swine flu is different to a typical flu jab, as the NHS explains.
    The vaccine is offered first to individuals who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch the virus, including anyone who has a long-term health condition and pregnant women.

    The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of other forms of the virus.
    They include having a temperature above 38C, having muscle or joint pain, having a headache, having a runny or blocked nose and feeling tired.
    The NHS recommends anyone fit and healthy who is experiencing symptoms similar to those mentioned should rest at home and wait for the illness to subside. However, those who fall into one of the vulnerable groups, are advised to visit their doctor for further advice.

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