As December draws that little bit closer, it’s important to protect your little ones to ensure that they can enjoy the excitement of the season.
Before the inevitable rounds of coughs, sneezes and runny noses really get a grip, NHS Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging parents of children between the ages of two and seven to make sure they are protected against the nasty effects of flu for the winter months.
It is simple, quick and painless; a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free, it works even better than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects.
The flu vaccine will both protect your child and those they come into contact with against the flu virus. This could be an elderly relative, or someone with a weakened immune system. Catching flu for these people can be really serious.
For five to seven year olds, the vaccination will be available in some schools, some pharmacies and some GP practices.
It is anticipated that the flu vaccine for children will eventually prevent at least 2,0001 deaths from flu in the general population and lead to 11,000 fewer hospitalisations.
Dr Aqil Chaudary a GP in Erdington and clinical lead for children’s services at Birmingham CrossCity CCG explained: “Flu can be very unpleasant for children. Some children develop a very high fever or complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and painful middle ear infection. They may need hospital treatment, and in serious cases, can be fatal.”
Dr Chaudary added: “Children are great at spreading flu because they tend to sneeze everywhere and don't use tissues properly, or wash their hands. Vaccinating them helps protect the vulnerable groups in society, including babies, older people, pregnant women and people with serious long-term illnesses, even one that is well managed.”
Throughout the last decade, there has generally been a good match between the strains of flu in the vaccine and those that subsequently circulate, so it’s important that those that need it have a vaccination every year.
If you are a parent of children aged two, three and four you will be contacted by your GP about getting your child vaccinated before the winter. If you don’t hear anything, or you want more information about when and how your child will be vaccinated against flu, talk to your GP or practice nurse.
Children in school years one and two will be offered flu vaccination as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
For more information about vaccines and the alternatives that may be available, visit:https://www.gov.uk
For more information about winter illness, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell