The flu vaccine
The flu vaccine is a must in our house. GG has been having it since a young age, as she suffers with asthma from time to time. Now that she has a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes there’s just no debate. I’ve had it too. As her main carer I can’t afford to be ill, in the way that flu makes you ill. And if you’re wondering if you’ve ever really had the flu, I can put you out of your misery right now – you haven’t.
I’ve had flu twice in 48 years. Flu is not the kind of illness that sees you sitting in front of the TV with a mug of lemsip and a bar of chocolate. If you have flu, you will not leave your bed other than for essentials. And by essentials, I mean water, and the toilet. It will probably take you a week before you feel up to even pulling on your ‘chilling out pants’ and calling your mum. Talking of which, after decades of not wanting to live with your mum, you will want your mum. It’s that kind of illness. If you’d had flu, you’d know it.
So we are vaccinated. But what if you’re nervous about giving your child a vaccine that he may not need? After all, he’s never had flu before, so why would he start now?
Children are the biggest spreaders of the flu virus. And once it’s in your home, it can spread to everyone, including the vulnerable members of your family. And let’s not sugar-coat it. Flu can kill.
Facts about flu
- Each winter, flu affects up to 10% of school-aged children
- For every 10 children who miss school because of the flu, 8 household members subsequently became ill
- In 2013/2014, a total of 904 admissions to intensive care were reported as influenza including 98 deaths
(Statistics from Astra Zeneca research, October 2014).
In previous years I’ve found it hard taking my daughter for the flu jab. She didn’t deal well with needles, and it can hurt. But the flu vaccine is now available as a nasal spray for children, and for the last two years it’s been painless, quick, and not a big deal at all for her. And I know that if flu sets in at school, she is very unlikely to get it. Which is a huge weight off my mind. The Bug hasn’t yet been offered it, but it’s on my mind to ask my GP – no-one wants to see their child that unwell, and an admission to hospital with your child is really grim.
Tips to protect your family from flu
As well as getting the flu vaccine, there are other ways you can help protect your child, and your extended family, from contracting the flu virus:
- Make sure everyone washes their hands really well. Soap and warm water is the biggest defence against germs that linger on hands. If washing facilities aren’t available, use an anti-bacterial hand gel.
- Teach children (and adults!) to cough and sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, to avoid putting germs onto hands and surfaces.
- Make sure children know not to touch their faces when they’ve been in contact with someone who has a cold.
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post.