23/11/2015 - Permalink

Parents urged to protect their child from flu as winter sets in

Related topics: Community / Health

As winter sets in and coughs and colds begin to circulate, parents and carers across Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin, are being advised to check their child is eligible for the flu vaccine.

The annual nasal spray flu vaccine is free and available for children aged two, three and four years.  This year it has also been extended to include older children in school years one and two.

The reminder is being issued by Shropshire Council’s public health team, and Telford and Wrekin Council’s public health team, as part of this year’s national Stay Well this Winter campaign on behalf of local NHS and social care and health organisations.

newsroom flu image children

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles.

The flu vaccine for children is a simple nasal spray that’s pain free and quick to administer and will offer protection for a year.

Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-being Board, said:

“For many parents and carers of healthy children, the idea of annual flu vaccination is still new. 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.

“The sore throat, fever, aches and chills can make youngsters poorly for weeks and, in some cases, lead to hospitalisation, which is why it is so important for children to take up the offer of the free vaccine.

“Even the healthiest of children can become seriously ill as a result of flu. Christmas is such a special time for children, so I’d urge parents to help their child stay well and make sure they are protected by getting the vaccine.”

Councillor Richard Overton, Cabinet member for Housing, Public Health and Protection at Telford and Wrekin Council, added:

“The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free (a big advantage for children), the nasal spray works even better than the injected flu vaccine.

“Having the flu vaccination will not only protect your child but prevent the spread of flu amongst friends and family members, especially those at risk of serious complications from flu.

“Even if your child was immunised against flu last year, it is important to get the vaccine again this year as viruses can change over time.”

Parents of preschool children can find out if their child is eligible by contacting their GP or Health Visitor.

Parents of children in school years one and two can contact their School Nurse or Shropshire Community Trust on 01743 450800.

Further information about the flu vaccination and eligibility for children can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459302/8584_children_flu_vaccine_graphic-20-web.pdf or

For more information about flu and how to Stay Well this Winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.