Free nasal spray helps youngsters to beat flu

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Don’t let your children miss out on a free flu vaccine - that’s the message going out to parents today from health chiefs.

Only a quarter of parents and carers in Horsham and Mid Sussex are getting their two to four year olds vaccinated by a free, painless nasal spray on the NHS at their GP practice.

School nurses are running flu clinics for children in years one, two and three. Children of all ages with a health condition that puts them at greater risk of flu are also eligible for the flu vaccine.

Doctors say flu can be an unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, as well as extreme tiredness. Symptoms can often last several days.

Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis and pneumonia.

Dr Max Kammerling, head of the public health screening and immunisation team for Surrey and Sussex said: “It is important we protect young children from the flu virus and get them vaccinated now.

“Children can become very poorly if they catch flu and it impacts on the wider family, as parents/carers may have to take time off work to look after them.

“The nasal spray contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them from causing flu but will help children to build up immunity.”

Contact your GP practice to find out if your child is eligible for the vaccination.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.uk