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Swine Flu Information

What are the symptoms of Swine Flu  H1N1 influenza?

 In most people,  the symptoms of Swine Flu (H1N1) are similar to the symptoms of regular flu.

They include:

• Temperature over 38 ºC/100.4 ºF that begins suddenly and some of the following:

What are the differences between Swine Flu (H1N1) influenza and the common cold? It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and flu. The main difference is that the symptoms of influenza come on rapidly and are typically accompanied by muscle aches and a fever. The common cold has a more gradual onset and is associated with a runny nose and sneezing.


What should I do as a parent?

Two important actions to protect your family


1. Be aware of the symptoms of flu-like illness and know where to seek medical care. See below.

2. Teach your children the following good health habits to help stop spread of germs:





What should I do if my child gets sick?

 If your child gets sick with a flu-like illness as described above you should:

Keep your child at home and away from others as much as is possible to avoid spreading infection to others. If they are sick with flu they should stay home for 7 days from the onset of symptoms.

Give your child simple anti-fever medication such as paracetamol (CALPOL) or ibuprofen (NUROFEN) (NB aspirin should NOT be given to children under 16 years of age) and drink plenty of fluids.

If you think you or your child may have Swine Flu (H1N1) you should call the HSE Flu Information Line Freephone 1800 94 11 00 or check www.swineflu.ie for advice on what to do next.

If you think your child needs to see the GP because they have severe symptoms, remember to ring your GP first. Do not visit the surgery unannounced.


• Teach your child good health habits, as above.

• It is important to ensure that all household surfaces that are touched by hands are kept clean, especially bedside tables, surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens and children’s toys. Such surfaces should be wiped regularly with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.


Should I send my child to their school?

Yes, while schools are open parents should send their children there unless they have any symptoms. It is expected that educational institutions will remain open even if there are some children out sick with H1N1. However, in certain circumstances an educational institution may be advised to close. This decision will be made in the light of expert advice from the local Department of Public Health who will always have the interests of pupils in mind. We urge parents not to withdraw their children unless given this advice.


Is  it better for my child to catch this now to develop some immunity in case this comes back more seriously? Children who have been infected with Swine Flu (H1N1) have generally recovered without complications but some children have had a severe illness. It is preferable to avoid exposure to the virus if possible. When a vaccine is available this will provide safe immunity for children.

What happens when a child in an educational institution is identified as a case of Swine Flu (H1N1) influenza?

If a student develops flu-like symptoms at their educational institution, arrangements should be made for him/her to be taken home. The child should not return to their educational institution until 7 days from the onset of symptoms have passed.

In relation to other students no further action needs to be taken. Parents and teachers should, however, be vigilant for the symptoms of flu and, at the first signs of these, the child should stay at home and parents should call the HSE Flu Information Line Freephone 1800 94 11 00 or check www.swineflu.ie for advice on what to do next.


Is there a vaccine against human Swine Flu (H1N1) influenza?

A vaccine is an injection which prevents a person getting a particular disease. It works by strengthening the body’s immune system. The vaccine must be given before the person is infected with the disease.  The HSE will provide the vaccine to everyone in the country as soon as sufficient amount of vaccines are available. This may commence as early as autumn but it will take many months to vaccinate all people.

Are there medicines to treat Swine Flu (H1N1) influenza?

Yes, there are medicines known as anti-virals that can be used to treat flu due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. However, as most cases of Swine Flu (H1N1) influenza will be mild, anti-viral treatment will only be necessary in a small proportion of cases. Doctors will assess each case but the following groups are the ones most likely to require treatment with anti-virals: • Patients who appear to have severe symptoms or • Patients who are in defined high risk groups



Common Cold





Characteristically High (≥38oC or 100oF)





General aches and pains

Usual, often severe


Fatigue, weakness

Can be prolonged for a number of weeks

Quite mild

Extreme exhaustion

Early and prominent


Runny nose






Sore throat




Common, can be severe

Mild to moderate, hacking cough

Diarrhoea, vomiting


Not associated with the common cold in adults

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