With autumn well underway and coughs, colds and flu already starting to circulate, doctors from NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are urging parents of children between the ages of two and seven to make sure their child has their flu nasal vaccination.
The nasal spray vaccination is available free on the NHS. It’s quick, effective and painless and available to children aged 2-4 years, as well as those in school years one and two.
The vaccination is given by squirting a single dose of nasal spray up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free, it works even better than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects.
It’s important to protect your children from flu. The vaccination is the best protection against what is an unpredictable virus. It can cause severe illness and can even be fatal amongst those with a long term health condition, or the elderly. The vaccine will protect your child, and those they come into contact with, against the flu virus.
Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn CCG, said: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children. They suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles. Some children may develop complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and painful middle ear infection which may need hospital treatment. In serious cases a child may even die from flu.
“We know that children easily spread germs through bad hygiene, such as sneezing everywhere and not washing their hands properly. Vaccinating your child will not only protect them but also help to reduce the chance of flu spreading to others, especially amongst the vulnerable, such as babies, older people, pregnant women and people with serious long-term illnesses, even one that is well managed. Primary school pilots using the vaccine have proved very effective in preventing the spread of flu in the wider community.”
Dr Phil Huxley, a local GP and Chair at NHS East Lancashire CCG, added: “If you have children aged two, three or four, or in school years one and two, don’t put off taking up their free flu vaccination.”
“You should have already been contacted by your GP practice 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