Local mum urges parents to arm their children against flu
A local mum is urging parents of children with long term health conditions such as asthma and diabetes to get their children protected against flu.
Caroline Burch lives with her son Elliot in Ramsbottom, Elliot, aged nine, was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two. Caroline is keen to get Elliot protected from flu and is encouraging other parents to do the same.
Children with long term health conditions such as asthma and diabetes are not able to fight off the flu as well as other children. Flu is more likely to put children in high risk groups in danger.
Elliot’s mum Caroline said: "Each year, I'm really keen to get Elliot protected from flu as soon as the vaccinations are available at our GP practice. We both know how important it is to get him protected. A child with asthma, diabetes or another long term health condition can be hit hard if they do catch flu. Having the vaccine is quick and easy, and it's free. I know that no one likes having injections, but for just a few minutes out of the day to nip to the practice, we have peace of mind that Elliot is protected and can get on with his life without having to worry about flu."
The flu jab is available for free on the NHS for children aged over 6 months who have a long term medical condition such as asthma or diabetes, a heart or chest complaint or lowered immunity.
Although the majority of normally healthy children will recover from flu within a few days, those children in high risk groups are more likely to have a bad case of flu and develop a serious complication such as a chest infection, bronchitis or pneumonia.
Dr. Kiran Patel, Chairman and Clinical Lead for the NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Flu is highly infectious and is far more serious than a cold. Many people think that children can brush off a case of the flu; and for the majority of healthy children, it’s just an unpleasant experience and inconvenient and they usually feel better within a week. If a child with a long term health conditions catches flu, it can make their existing condition worse and can result in more serious complications which may require hospital treatment. This can be prevented by having the vaccine.”
Dr. Peter Elton, Bury’s Director of Public Health added: “Some people are more likely to have a bad case of flu and develop serious complications such as a chest infection. In a small number of cases, flu can cause patients to become critically ill and even die from the infection. The vaccination is free, safe and it does save lives. I’d urge all parents of eligible children to make an appointment at your GP practice to get your child protected now, before we have an outbreak in Bury.”
Pregnant women; people aged 65 and over; adults living with a long term medical condition; carers and front line health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the vaccination for free on the NHS. Eligible patients should contact their GP practice to make an appointment and get Flu Safe for the winter.
Date:18th October 2012
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Notes to Editor:
- Flu Safe is a public health campaign first implemented in London in 2011/12. In 2012/13 it forms a nationwide campaign, which will be delivered locally by the NHS. It provides clear messages to members of the public deemed to be at risk from flu to encourage them to make an informed decision to get a free flu jab. Flu Safe provides a comprehensive and positive seasonal flu campaign, with potential to become recognised across England.
- Flu is a highly infectious and very common viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. Flu circulates all year round, but is especially common during winter, which is why it is also known as 'seasonal flu'.
- The symptoms of flu can include a sudden high temperature, headache and general aches and pains, tiredness and sore throat. You can also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough.
- Every year a vaccine is developed to protect against the strains of flu virus that are likely to be circulating that winter.
- The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it’s good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter. Patients should simply contact their GP Practice to arrange a convenient appointment and get their jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
- Long term medical conditions include: asthma, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, a heart or chest complaint or lowered immunity. For more information on who should have the flu vaccination visit - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu-jab/Pages/Whyitshouldbedone.aspx
- Relatively few patients would have flu noted as the cause of death on their death certificate, but when more flu is seen by GPs there is a spike in deaths from chronic conditions such as heart failure and COPD.
- For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu