Dunmow mum tells of swine flu 'hysteria'
PUBLISHED: 09:16 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 07:18 30 May 2010
A DUNMOW mother has told how she has seen first hand the hysteria surrounding swine flu after being forced to keep her five-year-old son away from school. The mum - who wished to remain anonymous - says she has kept her son at home after news of her hus
A DUNMOW mother has told how she has seen first hand the "hysteria" surrounding swine flu after being forced to keep her five-year-old son away from school.
The mum - who wished to remain anonymous - says she has kept her son at home after news of her husband's flu symptoms was spread amongst the parents of Dunmow St Mary's Primary School.
She claims to have been made uncomfortable by parents for letting her son still attend school, and likened the situation to a "witch hunt".
She said: "My husband had symptoms on Saturday and, after calling our GP, he was given the standard five-day flu vaccine.
"While dropping my son off at school on Monday I notified the school and happened to mention this to someone but it quickly spread around the playground.
"A lot of parents were coming up to me, asking if it was true. I even had phone calls on Tuesday morning telling me that if I took my son to school that day then they would withdraw their children immediately."
The woman took her son into school on Tuesday but withdrew him from lessons for the final three days of term.
"The school has been absolutely fantastic but we've been put in a really awkward position by some of the parents," she said. "My son is five and doesn't understand. He thinks he has done something wrong and it's not fair on him."
Because blood tests are no longer taken in swine flu cases, her husband's condition was never fully diagnosed, although he has made a full recovery.
However, she accused the Government for not providing enough information about what to do in cases of suspected swine flu.
She said: "People are panicking, as I have seen first hand this week. I think the information we're getting is not adequate enough; people are jumping at a sneeze."
The incident comes in the same week that a seemingly healthy six-year-old schoolgirl from west London died after contracting swine flu. Health Secretary Andy Burnham has since sent out a message of reassurance to worried parents, stressing that "lots of children" had suffered swine flu and had made a full recovery.
The Government has also said it has ordered enough swine flu vaccine to cover the entire population, with the first doses arriving next month.
NHS West Essex is reminding people to make sure they know what to do if they think they have swine flu.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, diarrhoea, headache, feeling generally unwell and a dry cough - very similar to seasonal influenza.
If anyone suspects they have swine flu, they should stay at home and check their symptoms at www.nhs.uk or phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647. If they are still concerned, they should phone their GP.
Information on swine flu is also available from the recorded information line on 0800 1 513 513.