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Swine Flu

A piglet against a green background.
This is a similar infection to 'normal' so called 'Seasonal Flu' but it is caused by a different type of flu virus - the H1N1 subtype (it is sometimes called this too). This virus lived in pigs (whose old-fashioned name is swine) for a long time and didn't cause an illness in humans. In early 2009 it began to infect humans and caused a worldwide outbreak of the disease (also called a pandemic). Because our immune systems had never been exposed to this type of flu virus before it sometimes caused a much more serious infection than normal 'Seasonal Flu'. The media got very excited about the whole thing but the outbreak was not as bad as people thought it might be. Most people who caught it only had an illness similar to normal flu.

What to do

If you get a flu-like illness now you won't be able to tell if it's normal 'Seasonal flu' or 'Swine flu'. There is a vaccine for Swine flu which is offered to people with serious medical conditions receiving treatment e.g. bad asthma, diabetes. Most people don't need this however. You should just rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids and let your mum or dad look after you. ;If you have a fever, paracetamol taken according to the packet's instructions should help you feel better.