freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Look out, swine flu's back | Christine Morgan - Journalist
+44 (0)7931 342850

Or rather it never really went away. But that doesn’t stop headlines like ‘Deadly swine flu returns with a vengeance‘ putting the frighteners on the riskfactorphobic public (and probably a good many other non-riskfactorphobes too).

So what are the facts? Yes, 10 people under the age of 65 are reported to have died of the virus in the past six weeks here in the UK. But according to NHS Choices, the number of people reporting flu-like illnesses is low for the time of year. And flu experts had already predicted that the H1N1 virus (that is, the swine flu virus) would be in circulation this winter as one of the main flu strains. So it’s hardly a surprise that it’s returned (though hardly with a vengeance). Even the World Health Organisation predicted there’d be localised outbreaks of swine flu this winter, but so far a pandemic hasn’t been declared.

In other words, don’t panic. It’s just the usual flu season stuff. People sadly die of flu every year, and you’ve got to admit that last year – when there was officially a flu pandemic – it all pretty much turned out to be a bit of a damp squib anyway (no offence meant to those who did suffer, by the way).

So should any of us be worried? Well if you’re in a high risk group you should get a flu jab – that’s if you have chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, neurological disease such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, or if you have some sort of immune system disorder or diabetes. If you have asthma, you’re pregnant, you’re aged 65 or over or you’re a child under the age of five, you could also have a higher risk. This year’s general flu jab includes the swine flu vaccine, so just get yourself to your GP, pharmacist or wherever they’re offering flu jabs (and there are some really good deals around if you don’t qualify for a free one).

Most importantly, don’t stress yourself out by reading scary newspaper headlines. It’s not good for your health.