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Swine flu pandemic alert raised to level 6

18 Jun 2009

Advice on personal precautions and good hygiene

Use a tissue to catch your sneezes

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its pandemic alert level on 'swine flu' to 6 - meaning that 'swine flu' is now technically a global pandemic.

Within the UK, there have now been 1320 confirmed cases and numbers are expected to increase rapidly over the next few weeks and months, boosted by the onset of the autumn/winter when flu viruses spread more readily.

However, the UK is well-prepared for dealing with a pandemic and has good stocks of anti-viral drugs for treating flu and access to a vaccine from the autumn.

Government advice is still that we should carry on with our daily lives as normal, whilst adhering to further government advice, taking sensible personal precautions and adopting good hygiene measures.

How you can reduce the risk of infection

In order to help control the spread of swine flu, as well as other infections, you should:

  • Always use a tissue to catch your sneezes
  • Only use a tissue once, and afterwards dispose of it immediately and carefully
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water
  • Keep hard surfaces (e.g. kitchen worktops and door handles) clean

What to do if you have flu-like symptoms

If you (or someone you know) are concerned because you think you may be affected by swine flu after recently visiting an infected area and have developed flu-like symptoms, you should:

  • Limit contact with others
  • Avoid going in person to see a GP, A&E or other health service
  • Stay at home and call a GP by telephone, contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit NHS Direct online

Where to find more information

The most accurate public information on the current situation can be found at: