As winter sets in and coughs and colds begin to circulate, parents and carers across Shropshire are being advised to check their child is eligible for the flu vaccine.
The reminder is being issued by Shropshire Council’s public health team and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, as part of this year’s national Help Us Help You Stay Well this Winter campaign.
For most children, the flu vaccine is not usually an injection, just a quick and easy nasal spray. Children aged 2 and 3 receive the vaccine through their GP and children in reception and school Years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 receive it in school, meaning all children aged 2-9 can be vaccinated.
Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu such bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, health and social housing, said:
“Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children, which can often last several days.
“If you have children aged 2 to 9, don’t put off taking them for their free flu vaccination, go and get them vaccinated now, and look forward to a happy and healthy flu free Christmas.”
Dr Julian Povey, Chair of NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of NHS Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“The children’s flu vaccine is the best possible protection against the flu virus. Offered as a yearly nasal spray, it is quick, painless, and works even better in children than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects.
“Vaccinating children also helps to protect other members of the community who are vulnerable to flu – for example, older people, babies, and pregnant women.”
Laura, mum of Lily Pell aged two, said:
“The nasal spray was very quick, Lily hardly noticed as she was too interested in wanting her sticker. She got more upset when she had to leave as she wanted to stay to get more stickers!”