This week's UK news: 24 July 2009
24 July 2009

We’re not all ill

Swine flu, also known as H1N1 flu, was big news this week. The Government has now opened a telephone and internet advice centre. People who are ill can contact the centre, and get advice and treatment if they need it.

Numbers of people getting the flu have risen sharply across the country. In some areas, infection rates are slowing down. Most cases are mild and people get better in a few days.

Most of the small number of people who have needed hospital treatment, or who have died, have had other health problems. Mothers expecting babies and children under one are also at more risk.

So far, the illness has affected children under 14 most often.

Doctors are advising that the best way to avoid catching the flu is to wash hands often, especially after travelling on buses and trains. People should also use paper tissues to catch coughs and sneezes.

Swimming champion chooses to go slower

Rebecca Adlington, who won two Olympic gold medals for swimming last summer, is refusing to wear a new type of swimsuit. The swimsuits make swimmers go faster by squeezing the body and making it float better.

The suits were banned by the world swimming body until June. But the manufacturers have threatened legal action unless the suits can be used in competition.

Now it is possible Rebecca will lose races because she will not wear the new suits. She says she would not take a drug to make her swim faster, so she should not wear the swimsuit. “I want to improve because of my ability as a swimmer,” she said.

Nice medicine

Researchers at an English university are looking for women to eat chocolate.

The scientists are trying to find out if chemicals in dark chocolate can help older women with health problems avoid heart problems.

The 40 women will be eating specially-made chocolate. More than 150 women have already taken part in the research at the University of East Anglia.

World’s oldest man dies

Henry Allingham, who fought in the First World War, has died at the age of 113.

He became the world’s oldest man in June. He was one of the last three surviving British men who fought in the First World War. He was well-known to many people because he had appeared on television talking about the war, and would always attend Armistice Day in London.

He said he had lived so long because of "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women".


by Susan Young -


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