The parents of thousands of children in Brighton and Hove missing out on their free flu vaccine are being urged to get their child protected now, reducing the risk of them becoming seriously ill and infecting their wider family.
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can be a very unpleasant illness in children with symptoms including fever, stuffy nose dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness, which can often last several days.
Children can face serious complications from flu, including a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis and pneumonia, so some may even need hospital for treatment. Last year saw eight under 18 year olds ending up in hospital Brighton and Hove due to flu, costing the NHS more than a £18,000, which may have been avoided by them claiming their free flu vaccine.
Dr Hildi Mitchell, Head Teacher of the Downs Infant School in Brighton, said the vaccine brings the benefits for the school: “As a school we value anything that can minimise absence and disruption to our children's development and learning. Illnesses spread very quickly through classrooms and the more children who are vaccinated, the better.”
Those who get the flu will get better more quickly if they:
• Get plenty of rest and sleep
• Make sure they keep warm
• Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
• Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
A pharmacist can help with flu, offering treatment advice and recommend flu remedies, and give guidance on giving medicines to children. More information about spotting symptoms and treating flu is available online at www.nhs.uk
Dr David Supple, Clinical Chair for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are urging parents of young children to protect them from the flu virus by getting them vaccinated now.
“The children’s flu vaccine nasal spray is safe and tailored each year to specific flu viruses – so please claim this free NHS offer and please remember to sign and return vaccine permission forms if sent by your children’s schools.”
Children need to be vaccinated even if they had the flu vaccination last year.
The vaccine is available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:
• children aged 2 and 3 on August 31 2018 at GPs
• children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 at school
• children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions at GPs