Swine Flu

Health workers and high risk hospital patients in the Midlands can now get jabs against swine flu.

Pregnant women are the main priority as part of the nationwide vaccination - with millions of doses available at GP surgeries.

Many schools across the region have been affected by the virus.

When the outbreak started, Welford Primary in Handsworth in Birmingham was one of the worst affected with 90 people, 72 of them children, linked to the virus.

Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England, said it was important for frontline health and social care workers to get themselves vaccinated against swine flu along with other groups classified as a "priority" or at risk.

Flu hotline: 0800 1 513 100 and website

Preganant mums, children under 5 and elderly people over 65 with flu like symptoms should stay at home and contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or phone their GP.

Preparations you should be making now:

  • Establish a network of "flu friends" - friends and relatives - who can help if you fall ill. They could, for example, collect medicines and food for you
  • Make sure that you have an adequate amount of paracetamol-based cold remedies in the house in case you become ill


Good hygiene:
Preventing the spread of germs is the single most effective way to slow the spread of diseases such as swine flu. You should always:

 Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible.
 Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
 Maintain good basic hygiene - wash hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
 Clean hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
 Make sure your children follow this advice.


The ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ slogan is an easy way to remember to act to stop the spread of germs.

 CATCH IT Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
 BIN IT Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of them as soon as possible
 KILL IT Hands can transfer germs to any surface you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can.

Advice if you are pregnant:

The Health Secretary Andy Burnham has tried to clarify the advice for pregnant women after confusing information was released.

While most pregnant women who catch swine flu will only experience mild symptoms like most other people, the Department of Health say there's a higher risk of developing complications.

If you are pregnant you should:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water
  • Where possible, avoid contact with someone who has swine flu or may have swine flu
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, make contact early with a GP who may give you anti-viral drugs

Useful Websites:

• Health Protection Agency www.hpa.org.uk

• NHS Choices www.nhs.uk