Health scientists have confirmed that the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu, is back in circulation this winter. Indeed, it has already claimed 10 lives.
The deaths have led the Department of Health to issue a fresh warning to pregnant women to visit their doctor and have the swine flu vaccination.
This is because swine flu is more dangerous to expectant mums than non-pregnant women. Research has shown that pregnant women are four times more likely to be admitted to hospital with complications from swine flu. The new vaccine will protect against swine flu and two other flu strains.
Babies under one are also particularly vulnerable to flu so if you’re feeling fluey and are due to visit someone with a young baby, you’d be best to stay away until you’re feeling better.
Although swine flu is back, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that flu levels are normal for this time of year. Of 89 cases of flu tested by GPs last week, 20% were swine flu and the remainder were other flu strains.
“Although unpleasant, if you have flu it is best to stay at home until well,” advises HPA’s flu expert Dr John Watson. However, he also warns that if you’re in an ‘at risk’ group, such as if you’re pregnant, you should seek medical advice if you suspect you have flu.