18/12/2010 16:10 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Swine Flu: Should You Be Worried?

Should you be worried about swine flu? Should you be worried about swine flu this winter? Photo: Flickr, Y

Just when we thought we'd seen the back of it swine flu has reared its ugly head gain, with senior GPs recently voicing their concerns about a possible new flu crisis in the making. Figures released a few days ago show that 17 people have died from flu so far this winter, 14 of whom had swine flu. So should you be worried?

According to the interim chief medical officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, there's no evidence as yet that this year's flu outbreak is any worse than any other year. Talking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she claimed this year's flu figures are the same as the year before last's (that is, before the pandemic).

The problem, however, is that it looks like fewer people who should be having flu jabs (those in high risk groups) are coming forward for them. And that is a worry, since this year's annual flu vaccine includes protection against swine flu.

So unless you are in a high risk group, there's no need to be any more worried about flu this winter than any other year. Well not yet, anyway.

Not sure if you need a jab? According to the NHS people who are particularly at risk of being seriously ill if they catch flu include asthmatics, pregnant women, the over-65s and young children under five.

Certain health problems also increase your risk, including diabetes, chronic lung, heart, kidney or liver disease, a neurological disease such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, or any health condition where your immune system is depressed (that is, either caused by the disease itself or the medicines you take).

If you do fall into one of these groups, see your GP for a flu jab as soon as you can.

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