The father of a two-year-old boy who was hospitalised with breathing difficulties twice is urging parents to vaccinate their children against flu if they are eligible.
Toddler Joseph Pearson, from Darwen, has had two episodes of viral induced wheezing and been admitted to hospital twice.
He is too young to be diagnosed with asthma but the symptoms are very similar.
His dad Mark was invited to take little Joseph for a nasal-spray flu vaccine at his GP surgery at Darwen Healthlink because he is now in a priority group due to his underlying illness. Watch it here Video of Joseph Pearson having his nasal spray flu vaccine
As well as priority children such as those with asthma or long term conditions, all children aged between two and eight are eligible for the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
Two and three years olds are offered the nasal-spray flu vaccine at nursery, while the older children are offered it at school.
All other children and young people aged between two and 17 with underlying issues, such as Joseph, are sent a letter from their GP to come to a flu clinic.
Pregnant women, the elderly and those with long term conditions are also advised to have the flu vaccine.
Joseph suffered his first wheezing episode shortly before his second birthday and then again a few weeks later.
It was a very frightening experience for the toddler and his parents and he was admitted to hospital on both occasions.
His dad Mark Pearson, who took him for his nasal-spray flu vaccination, is supporting the NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group’s campaign called Protect Your Family.
It is aimed at improving the low take up of the flu vaccination across the borough, particularly among children who are the main spreaders of the virus.
Mark said: “It was a very simple process, much quicker than I thought it would be. It didn’t bother him at all. Normally it is horrible having anything put up your nose.
“When he had the viral induced wheezing, he was struggling to breathe and his chest and belly was going up and down very fast. It was very scary.
“There was never any doubt that we were going to bring him for his vaccine. He is in a priority group and it will protect him, particularly with this recent history. We will also be vaccinating the whole family too to protect him.”
Joseph’s sister Ava will have the vaccine at school as she is eight. Mum Carley and Tamara who is 10, will have to pay for the vaccine at a local pharmacy.
Juliette, practice nurse at the Darwen surgery, said: “The Nasal Flu spray vaccine is more effective in children At Darwen Healthlink, we actively promote the flu clinics and at the moment, we are running a couple a week. Each child, who meets the criteria, is invited by letter to come in.”