The HSE has issued a warning over the potentially deadly new wave of swine flu, which first cropped up in 2009 as part of a national pandemic – it’s now known as H1N1.
The flu strain has killed at least two people so far this winter and has hospitalised many others, and although the virus no longer has much of a world impact, a seasonal outbreak is becoming a regularity and could turn into a serious public health issue for the UK and Ireland.
Swine flu symptoms can be very similar to common cold and flu conditions and so easily missed – particularly in the early stages.
Diarrhoea and vomiting is common as well as fever and all the other symptoms you get from a normal flu – coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy throat – but more severe.
Studies have shown that the swine flu strain infects deeper into the lungs than normal flu, which is why symptoms may feel more severe.
Anyone suffering from these symptoms should stay home from work or school and stay in bed and seek medical attention.
This particular strain can be a serious concern for people aged under 65, especially those with pre-existing conditions as well as pregnant women.