Protect your little ones from flu this winter

christmas-1078274_1920

As December has arrived so does the Christmas cheer, and with all the excitement the more everyday things get lost or forgotten. So before the inevitable coughs, colds and flu really get a grip, Stone GPs are urging parents of children between the ages of two and seven to make sure their little ones have their flu nasal vaccination as soon as possible to ensure they are protected for the winter months.

It is simple and quick – 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.

For five-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 Paddy Hannigan, Stafford GP and Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group 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 a child may die from flu.”

Dr Hannigan 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