The festive holiday is over and the wintery weather continues, so too does the flu virus which continues to spread in the community.
This is why clinicians are urging all parents and guardians of 2 and 3 year olds to make sure their children are protected from the flu virus by having a simple nasal vaccination.
All 2 and 3 year olds (on 1 September 2017), are eligible for the free flu vaccination on the NHS. The child-friendly nasal spray provides a quick, painless squirt into each nostril, available from their GP surgery
Children of all ages with a health condition that puts them at greater risk of flu are also eligible for the flu vaccine. (This is in addition to the separate schools vaccination programme covering children in school years Reception, 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can often last several days. Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Dr Liz Mearns, Medical Director, from NHS England’s Southampton Office said; “It’s important we protect young children from the flu virus and get them vaccinated now. The Flu virus continues to spread in the community, and having your child vaccinated provides them with the best form of protection. Children can become very poorly if they catch flu. The nasal spray contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them from causing flu but will help children to build up immunity.
“Protecting your child can stop flu spreading to other children and the family, especially babies and grandparents, who may be at higher risk from flu.”
It’s important to get children vaccinated even if they had the flu vaccination last year. The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains of flu that are most likely to circulate each year, and which may be different from the previous year’s strains.