The essential guide to swine flu

All you need to know about swine flu when your pregnant...

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Swine flu is a bigger risk to pregnant women because…

When you’re pregnant, changes happen to your immune system to prevent your body attacking the unborn baby, which it may see as a foreign body. This means mums are more vulnerable, not just to swine flu but all infections. The extreme risk of having a virus for mums-to-be is miscarriage plus other complications such as pneumonia and dehydration. That’s why it’s important to contact your GP as soon as you think anything’s wrong.

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Look out for sudden tiredness as a possible Swine Flu symptom

Young children are at greater risk because…

Young children’s immune systems are still developing. Children up to the age of 1 with swine flu are prescribed antivirals suitable for their bodies rather than the Tamiflu you’ll have heard about in the press.

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If you have a fever or other potential symptoms, call your doctor and let your midwife know too

You know it’s swine flu when…

Swine flu has a lot of the regular symptoms of flu, but especially a fever generally of 38ºC or greater, lack of energy and appetite, and coughing. “Some people report diarrhoea too,” says Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers. “If in any doubt about symptoms, phone your GP straight away.”

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A runny nose may be one of the symptoms of swine flu

Staying indoors away from public places isn’t a failsafe way to avoid swine flu…

But be sensible – if you touch shared surfaces like PIN keypads at a cashpoint, use anti-bacterial hand spray afterwards. If you blow your nose, use a tissue and throw it away, to get rid of the germs. Make hand washing a habit.

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Swine flu vaccine for ALL pregnant women, health experts have urged

If you’re pregnant and diagnosed with swine flu…

You’ll be prescribed a ‘pregnancy friendly’ version of Tamiflu, the drug used to treat swine flu, called Relenza. It’s inhaled so it doesn’t get into your bloodstream as much as Tamiflu would.

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“Pregnant women can take antivirals safely on the advice of a doctor,” says Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson. “The Department of Health has a stockpile of Relenza.  If you’re pregnant, it’s important to contact your GP if you think you have swine flu – and let them know that you’re pregnant. They will then advise you on what is best to do.”

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