Parents across the North West are being urged to get their children vaccinated against flu.
All healthy children aged 2, 3 and 4 are eligible to have free flu vaccinations as part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign.
Dr Dan Seddon, Screening & Immunisation Lead, said: “Flu can be far more dangerous than parents realise and of course, when they get it, they tend to spread it around the whole family. Every year, thousands of children get sick and it is not uncommon for them to be admitted to hospital.
“Children with flu are “super spreaders” of the virus, however, children can have a simple nasal spray vaccine that protects them and stops them spreading the flu virus. For children aged 2, 3 and 4 year old, the nasal spray is given at your GP practice. For children aged 5, 6 and 7 years old, they are offered the nasal spray at their school.
“We’re now seeing an increase in flu across the North West and we urge parents to get the free vaccination if they haven’t already done so. It’s not too late.
“Ask your GP about the free flu vaccine for your 2, 3 or 4 year old.”
Flu can be horrible for little children; they have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment.
Reducing transmission by children can potentially help cut the number of GP appointments and unplanned admissions for children and adults, reducing winter pressures on the NHS.
The programme will be extended gradually to older age groups in primary school in future years.