Swine flu hits Beer

SWINE flu has hit Beer after a 20-year-old Coastguard member was struck down by the virus.

SWINE flu has hit Beer after a 20-year-old Coastguard member was struck down by the virus.

As health officials predict a second wave of the H1N1 influenza bug is due to sweep the country, Simon Hoare, of The Meadows, has been recovering in bed after already catching it.

Beer Coastguard volunteer Simon, who works as a barman in the village, started feeling unwell two weeks ago.

He said: "I just felt very hoarse, weak, my bones were hurting and I found myself coughing all the time. I couldn't move my neck hardly at all.

"I just thought it was over-work but as it went on I thought 'this is bad'."

Simon logged on to NHS Direct and a self-diagnosis revealed he was suffering from the highly-contagious virus.

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He rang his doctor and was prescribed anti-viral drug Tamiflu to help combat the symptoms, which his dad, Terry, collected from Honiton.

He added: "The Tamiflu did work. At first it made me feel worse, for about three days, but then I came a long way in a short space of time."

During that period Simon did not venture out of the house and said he tried to "stay out of the way" of his parents and older brother.

He added: "I really just stayed in bed, which was just horrific as I couldn't do anything. You can't move, you can't talk and you just feel really run-down."

Simon is not sure how he caught the virus, but, as he works in a busy pub, he said it was important to take time off as soon as he showed any symptoms of swine flu.

It has been predicted that a second wave of the pandemic will hit Britain in around six weeks but the death toll forecast has been greatly reduced.

Sir Liam Donaldon, chief medical officer, estimated that 19,000 people would die from the virus-a big drop from the 65,000 estimated back in July.

For Simon, who is on the road to recovery, although having swine flu was "bad" he said he was just grateful for the Tamiflu medicine.

It is expected the first swine flu vaccinations of people in at-risk groups will take place in October after the vaccine receives its licence.

* For information on swine flu visit www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu or telephone 0800 1153 100 or NHS Direct 0845 46 47.