Healthcare Professionals

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees in the UK only – this includes GPs, nurses, practice managers, GP practice administration support, pharmacists and pharmacy counter assistants.

If you are not a healthcare professional or healthcare employee, you should not enter this section – information regarding flu can be found on the main website.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE

Flu Risks If You Are A Child

Flu can be a more serious infection for young children than adults because their immune systems are not yet fully developed1. They are at greater risk of developing complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia or a middle ear infection, which may require hospital treatment2.

It is also especially important for children with long-term health conditions to avoid catching flu, as they are at increased risk of developing the above complications2 and their symptoms may also worsen. These conditions include:

 

Protecting children from flu

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu3, and children in certain age groups are offered a free flu vaccination on the NHS. Please check eligibility with your GP4. The flu vaccine for children is given via a nasal spray rather than an injection – which is needle-free, quick and painless.

Please note that if your child has been diagnosed with severe asthma, he or she may not be able to receive the nasal spray vaccination but should receive an injection instead4. Ask your doctor for more information.

 

Other ways to avoid infection

You can also take additional steps, such as avoiding public transport and crowds with your child. However, if you’re unable to avoid public transport (for example, if you need to get your child to hospital for treatment or an appointment), wash your and their hands after every trip, use the antiseptic hand gel dispensers in the hospital regularly, cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and dispose of any used tissues as quickly as possible.

 

Why vaccination for children is especially important

Children are great at spreading germs – including flu. This is because they often don’t cover their face with their hands if they cough or sneeze, they may not use tissues properly and they don’t wash their hands as often as adults5.

So vaccinating children can actually help protect a wider population – including their parents or carers, elderly relatives such as grandparents, and younger siblings (not to mention classmates and friends)5. This is known as herd immunity.

Children in eligible age groups should routinely be offered a flu vaccination at your GP practice or at their school as part of the NHS Childhood vaccination programme. Some pharmacies in the UK also offer free vaccination for children. Please ask your GP surgery or your child’s school for more information. Enter your postcode in the search box above to find your nearest local flu clinic.

 

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children, the Flu and the Flu Vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm (accessed July 2017)

2.Public Health England. The Geen Book. Chapter 19. Influenza. August 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file
/456568/2904394_Green_Book_Chapter_19_v10_0.pdf
(accessed July 2017)

3. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211, November 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html (accessed July 2017)

4. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2017 to 2018. March 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2017)

5. NHS. Children’s Flu Vaccine. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/child-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2017)

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE