Coughs, colds and the flu can spread quickly in winter. Although it is impossible to avoid illness altogether, having the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu and complications such as bronchitis in babies and children. Getting the flu vaccine is very easy, but it could help your child to avoid feeling miserable with the flu or developing a more serious chest infection.
How the Flu Vaccine Protects Your Child
The seasonal flu vaccine can’t prevent your child from catching influenza, but it can reduce the chances by protecting them against one of the main strains that is circulating. Avoiding the flu is particularly important for children, who are more likely to experience severe symptoms or to require treatment in hospital. There is also a higher risk of complications such as middle ear infections, pneumonia an bronchitis in babies and children. The effects of these could be serious, so anything you can do to reduce the risk is a good idea.
Getting the Flu Vaccine
Children can take the flu vaccine as a nasal spray rather than an injection, so it is very easy to ensure your child is protected.
The flu vaccine is available on the NHS for children who are:
- Between the ages of two and three
- In reception class or years 1-4 of primary school
- All primary school children in some parts of the country are eligible for the vaccine
- Under the age of 17 and affected by a chronic health condition that could put them at higher risk of flu complications such as bronchitis in babies and toddlers
If your child doesn’t meet these criteria, it is still possible for them to have the flu vaccine at a private clinic. You can also have a private flu vaccine yourself in order to reduce the chances of spreading the infection to your family.