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Swine flu returns with a vengeance, echinacea ‘does not prevent colds’, and how chocolate could cure coughs

By Gareth Iacobucci

Our roundup of health news headlines on Tuesday 21 December

The Daily Mail's front page has dramatic figures on the number of patients in intensive care with swine flu, reporting that more than 200 people were fighting for their lives in hospital last night. The paper says the number of patients in intensive care has doubled in a week, based on an analysis by SDI healthcare.

Swine flu is also the subject of the Mail's page 4 story, which chronicles the case of a pregnant mother who is fighting for her life with the condition – after being told by her GP she had a cold 24 hours before she was taken to hospital.

In the Telegraph, we read that the commonly-used herbal treatment echinacea does not prevent colds, according to leading doctors. Pulse has also covered this story here:

And on a lighter (or should that be heavier) note, the Mail reports that chocolate could provide the key to tackling a persistent cough, with researchers carrying out the final stages of clinical trials on a drug that contains theobromine, an ingredient naturally present in cocoa and chocolate.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know, and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

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