Many people are unaware that healthy children under the age of five are more likely to have to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group. This is why the children’s flu vaccine is offered as a free yearly nasal spray to young children to help prevent them against flu.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children causing a number of problems, including fever, dry cough, sore throat and extreme tiredness, often lasting several days. Serious complications can also occur, and these include acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and a painful ear infection.
In areas where primary school age children were given the nasal spray vaccine Public Health England found:
– GP consultation rates for GP influenza-like illness were 94% lower
– A&E respiratory attendances were 74% lower
– Hospital admissions due to confirmed influenza were 93% lower
– GP consultation rates for influenza-like illness for adults were 59% lower
A child’s GP should contact parents about getting their child vaccinated before the winter, but if parents want more information about when and how their child will be vaccinated then they should get in touch with the GP. If parents haven’t heard from their GP by early November 2016 it is best to contact them directly to make an appointment.
Dr Fiona Butler Chair of West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“It’s really important that children get the flu vaccine and I would call on all parents and carers to make sure they do. As well as protecting the child from illness they should know that children are the most likely to spread flu across the community, so vaccinating them works towards keeping the wider community safe.
“The nasal spray is simple and painless, so I urge all parents to take advantage of this free vaccine and protect their child from flu.”
For more information please visit NHS Choices.
Picture credit: NHS Choice website.