Pandemic and Avian influenza
Unlike ordinary seasonal flu that occurs every winter in the UK, pandemic flu can occur at any time of the year. A pandemic occurs when a new influenza ('flu') virus emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal flu - by coughing and sneezing.
The government has developed a national plan and local contingency plans have been prepared in case of outbreaks of either disease. Many public and private organisations have developed their own business continuity plans to maintain essential services. Plans are continually being updated and refined.
The NHS provides up-to-date information and the latest news on the current health situation in the UK and worldwide.
Swine flu is the common name given to a new strain of influenza (flu). It is called swine flu because it is thought to have originated in pigs, but this is not certain.
People with swine flu typically have a fever or high temperature (over 38°C) and may also have aching muscles, sore throat and/or a dry cough. In other words, the symptoms are very similar to seasonal (regular) flu. Most people recover within a week, even without special treatment.
The Direct Gov website provides health and travel advice and more information on what swine flu is, what to do if you think you have it and what the government is doing to help combat it?
Media coverage of bird flu and foot and mouth disease has raised awareness of how they can affect humans through cross contamination or production loss. These diseases are still occurring in animals in the UK.
What can I do to protect myself and others against flu?
When you cough or sneeze it is especially important to follow the rules of good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs:
- Always carry tissues.
- Use clean tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
- Bin the tissues after one use.
- Wash your hands with soap and hot water or a sanitiser gel often.
There’s a simple way to remember this: CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT
National Flu Helpline: 0800 1513 100