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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Swine flu warning after cases in south Scotland

Health experts are reminding the public of the dangers of swine flu, following the confirmation of two cases in southern Scotland.

An 18-month-old boy was admitted to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary on Monday, where he was later confirmed as having the H1N1 virus – also known as swine flu.

A new mother from the region had been diagnosed with the illness a few days earlier, and transferred to a specialist hospital in Leicester.

While there are no reported cases of the H1N1 virus in the county, Cumbrian public health experts have reminded residents they can get protection against swine flu.

A spokesman for Cumbria public health said: “The H1N1 flu strain has been in circulation since the pandemic in 2009. It is now part of the normal seasonal flu strains which circulate every winter and is covered by the winter flu vaccine which is provided free every year to groups at particular risk.

“As well as older people with underlying health conditions, the winter flu vaccine is also now offered to pregnant women. We are coming to the end of the flu season but if any pregnant women have not received the vaccine, they should speak to their GP.

“Flu symptoms include a sudden fever of 38 to 40C, muscle aches and pains, sweating, feeling exhausted and needing to lie down, a dry, chesty cough and sneezing. There’s no cure for flu but warm drinks and simple painkillers, such as paracetamol will help to ease the symptoms.

“The best protection is the free, NHS flu jab. Despite popular belief, the flu vaccine cannot give you flu as it doesn't contain the active virus needed to do this.”

People are reminded to protect others against flu, by always using a tissue when blowing their nose or sneezing and washing hands afterwards.

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