I'll make no apology for returning to the subject of swine flu because the British Medical Journal has just put out an advisory note that I would like to share with you.
This follows the shocking news of the death of a healthy baby from H1N1 flu. Three-year-old Lana Ameen fell ill with what was apparently a cold on Christmas Eve and died just two days later. Now her mother, Gemma, is calling on health ministers to make H1N1 vaccine available to all children, not just those with risk factor asthma. Official advice remains that the flu jab should only be given to children aged six months and up who have risk factors. Whether this will change remains to be seen.
I visited the website for an update on H1N1 deaths and it makes disturbing reading. There have been 50 deaths from flu since the start of the flu season in October, 45 of which have been from H1N1. Most of these deaths were in people under 65, and five were in children under five. Should we be worried about swine flu? Should we be doing more to protect our children from H1N1? What do you think?
Now to what the BMJ had to say today: 'Swine flu is one of the major strains of flu around this winter. While for most people it is an unpleasant but mild illness, it can be serious. It has already caused a number of deaths this year.'
If you are worried about swine flu this is how you should protect yourself, according to the latest research and evidence:
The best way to avoid catching swine flu (or any other type of cold or flu) is to wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water. Other sensible hygiene measures to help prevent the spread of swine flu are:
There is no evidence that wearing masks on the street, or while going about your daily business, will protect you against swine flu. Most masks are designed to stop you from passing on the germs you breathe out, not to stop germs from getting in. Masks might be helpful if you have swine flu, to avoid giving it to people who are caring for you, or if you are caring for someone at home with swine flu.