Patient isolated after tests confirm they have swine flu

Routine testing of a patient at Timaru Hospital found the person had swine flu.

However, South Canterbury District Health Board acting chief executive Christine Nolan said swine flu, or H1N1, was not unusual.

The virus infected the nose, throat and lungs and was normally worse than a cold. Symptoms came on suddenly and could include fever, chills, muscle aches, runny nose, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea, cough and stomach upsets.

"The patient affected by the swine flu was isolated. H1N1 was also included in the flu vaccination profile for 2014."

It could take up to three days after being in contact with the virus for the symptoms to show up. Worst symptoms usually lasted about five days, but coughing could last two to three weeks.

The Ministry of Health website sets out the groups at a higher risk of developing complications if they get swine flu, as pregnant women and women who have just given birth, people with an ongoing health condition (like asthma, diabetes, cancer, a heart or lung condition and conditions that affect the nervous or immune systems), significantly overweight people, people aged 65 years or over and very young children, especially infants (under 1).

People were urged to seek medical advice if they had a high fever that did not go down, chills or severe shaking, difficulty breathing or chest pain, purple or bluish discolouration of the lips, skin, fingers or toes, seizures or convulsions. Symptoms were similar to those of meningococcal disease.

The Timaru Herald