Parents of children in Horsham and Mid Sussex are being urged to get their children protected from flu with a free vaccine.
Last year saw six under 18 year olds ending up in hospital in the Horsham and Mid Sussex area due to flu, costing the NHS almost more than £18,000, which may have been avoided by claiming their free flu vaccine.
Dr Minesh Patel, clinical chair for Horsham and Mid Sussex 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 can face serious complications from flu, including a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis and pneumonia, so some may even need hospital for treatment, a spokesman said.
They added: “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.
“The parents of thousands of local children 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.”
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
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.
Children need to be vaccinated even if they had the flu vaccination last year.
More information about spotting symptoms and treating flu is available online at www.nhs.uk.