The bugs are back in town. That's right; it's that time of year again when the tissues come out and the coughs creep back in. Flu can develop quickly and leave us feeling quite unwell indeed. With many of us not wanting to miss work or school and definitely not wanting to be poorly over the magical festive period in particular, it might be worth booking your family in for a flu vaccine today.
Facts about flu
- In an average flu season in England, flu affects up to 10% of children aged 0 – 14 years
- Children are the main transmitters of flu and pass the virus on for longer than adults. For every 10 children who missed school because of flu-associated illness, eight household members subsequently became ill
- In 2013/2014, a total of 904 admissions to intensive care were reported as influenza including 98 deaths
As a parent I'd never really thought about how vaccinating the Mini Mes would actually benefit others too. Their health and safety is obviously paramount but by having the vaccine many people that are unable to have the vaccine themselves, for one reason or another, will be less likely to pick up the flu virus from us and suffer unnecessarily. With it being the season of goodwill this is certainly something to really think about! It could keep the most vulnerable like the elderly, pregnant women or those with existing illness healthy this Christmas.
Dr Ranj Singh, paediatrician and TV presenter, tells you about flu and prevention in the video above in a quick and simple way. If you haven't decided whether you will be vaccinating your children yet it is definitely worth a watch. It will help you to make an informed decision about the vaccine, whether that is to have it or not.
If little ones are worried about needles (or you are) it is possible that they could even have the nasal spray instead which should help to prevent any fear or discomfort. It too is free for healthy children within the UK to have.
In the meantime, there are a few things you and your family can do to reduce the risk of getting flu:
Wash your hands with soap and water!
Washing your hands often is one of the best methods of protection against germs. A hint to make sure your child is washing their hands thoroughly is to sing a nursery rhyme twice before they finish. If soap and water isn’t available use an alcohol based hand rub to kill the bacteria.
Reduce the risk of contamination!
Although it’s hard to control, a child can catch flu by touching contaminated surfaces or being in close proximity with someone who is. Help them to understand that they shouldn’t touch their face. Also coughs and sneezes spread germs far! Did you know a good sneeze can travel the length of a bus or tube carriage and cough up to a metre? Teach them to cough and sneeze into elbows or tissues, not hands.
You can find out more information on the website at www.sharegoodtimesnotflu.co.uk
Will your children be having the flu vaccine?