The Child Flu Vaccine is generally available every year for free on the NHS. While a ‘common’ infection, the Flu can be an unpleasant experience and sometimes complications can occur such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The Flu is typically ‘spread’ through coughing and sneezing, although it’s not the same as the ‘common cold’ people tend to think it is.
Flu is actually a different type of infection, its symptoms may be more serve and it usually lasts longer than a common cold. As you can see, if your child is eligible, it’s certainly important for them to get the Flu vaccination, so their bodies can build up a natural defence.
How is a Child Flu Vaccination Given?
In Britain, the National Health Service use a single flu nasal spray which is ‘squirted’ up each nostril. Using a nasal spray means it’s quick and painless and much easier than an injected needle vaccine.
In most cases the flu nasal spray will ‘absorb’ quickly and will still work, even if the child develops a runny nose or sneezes.
Can My Child Get a Flu Vaccine?
At the time of publication, the flu vaccination is available for free on the National Health Service for eligible children, these are:
• Children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health condition
• Children aged 2 and 3 years on August 31 2018 – that is, born between September 1 2014 and August 31 2016
• Children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
It has been stated by the NHS that plans are in consideration to ‘extend’ the programme to include older children over the coming years.
Side Effects of the Flu Nasal Spray Vaccine
Typically, most children will not have any side effects at all, however with most vaccines, some people may. Usually any side effects of the flu nasal spray tend to be short-lived and ‘mild’. Some of these symptoms may include:
• Loss of Appetite
• Runny or Blocked Nose
Of course, while very unlikely, ‘rare’ side effects can occur from almost any vaccination. There’s a small chance of a severe allergic reaction, this is medically known as anaphylaxis. The NHS state that the overall rate of anaphylaxis after a vaccine is around 1 in 900,000.
If an allergic reaction were to occur, it tends to happen ‘within’ minutes of the vaccination, this means it can be professionally treated by a Nurse or Doctor. In most cases it’s treated with adrenaline and children make a complete recovery after the treatment has been given.
If you’re concerned about your child after having the Flu Nasal spray vaccination, please contact your Doctor, call NHS 111 or ring 999 in an emergency. Remember the Internet cannot ‘diagnosis’ anybody, always use your judgement and instincts.
Which Children Should NOT have the Flu Nasal Spray Vaccine?
Before any vaccination it’s a good idea to speak to a professional healthcare worker such as your GP, if you have any concerns. Generally speaking, the flu nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for children who may have:
• An Allergy to any of the vaccination ingredients
• Weakened Immune System
• Severe Asthma
• Severe Egg Allergy
My Child has a Blocked Nose, Can They Have the Vaccine?
Typically, it’s recommended to ‘delay’ having the nasal spray flu vaccine, if a child has a:
• Runny or Blocked Nose
• Have a Cold / Wheezy
Obviously, the only person to say ‘for sure’ is a trained Doctor or Nurse. Usually a heavy cold or a blocked nose can stop the vaccination from getting into the body’s system correctly.
Equally if a child has been wheezy it’s usually recommended to delay a vaccine for at least a few days. Normally the Nurse or Doctor will only give the nasal spray after a child has been ‘wheeze-free’ for around a week.
Why Do Children need a Flu Vaccine?
Most children will only need a single dose, the vaccination does a great job in offering protect against the flu and helps the body to build up its natural infection defence. The nasal spray flu vaccination doesn’t only help your child though, it also helps to stop the infection spreading to other people such as family members, carers and the general population.
Remember the Flu virus can be ‘millions’ of tiny droplets which come out of a person’s nose or mouth. This can easily spread to other people through coughing and sneezing. As you can imagine, it doesn’t take any of these million droplets to enter somebody’s body before they get infected. To make things even worse, anybody who breathes in these droplets can catch the flu too. This means the droplets don’t always have to come into ‘contact’ with the skin, mouth or nose.
It can also be easily spread through touching surfaces, everyday items and toys, which for children can be an easy way to catch the infection. Think of all the door handles, food, handrails, floors and items a child touches in a day! For an average kid, this will be a lot.
The Flu can unfortunately ‘change’ many times, it’s constantly ‘adapting’, this means people can easily ‘catch’ it more than once. Therefore, having a vaccine and good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently, can decrease the chances of getting the flu.
5 Reasons to Vaccinate a Child Against the Flu
Here are five simple reasons why having a child vaccination against the flu may be a good idea:
• The Flu nasal spray helps to protect against the flu – this means it can aid the body to naturally ‘build up’ its defences.
• The NHS state “The nasal spray helps protect against flu, has been given t millions of children worldwide and has an excellent safety record” (Source – NHS Leaflet)
• The nasal spray is easy and ‘painless’ – it’s much better than an injection
• It can not only protect your child, it can stop the flu spreading to other children and members of your family. Such as grandparents, babies and siblings.
• If your child develops the flu, you may have to take time of work to look after them
Please bear in mind, this page has been created as a ‘general’ guide only, it does not replace any specialised health advice or treatment from an expert such as a Doctor. It’s each parent’s decision on whether having their child vaccination is correct for their individual situations. We cannot be held accountable or liable under any circumstance.
It’s always recommended to ask for assistance from your GP should you have any questions or queries regarding the child Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine.