Encouraging children in the early years to get protected against flu
Healthcare professionals are urging early years practitioners to educate parents and encourage them to take their children between the ages of 2 and 5 to go to their local GP’s and get protected against flu.
Flu can have many complications and because of this, England has a flu programme which involves offering a flu jab to most vulnerable members of society such as those with medical conditions, pregnant women and the elderly. This programme is also extended to young children between the ages of 2 and 5 however many parents are unaware of this.
Some Parents are wary of the flu jab as there can be some side effects however these are very minimum compared to catching the full flu. It is however parental choice and they should not feel forced into taking their children to receive the vaccination. As reported earlier in the year the amount of children receiving their usual childhood vaccinations are dropping which may mean that the take up on the flu vaccination this year is also lower the usual.
You could inform parents that the highest number of patients admitted to hospital with flu is young children in the early years; which is why professionals are urging parents to take up the offer of the flu jab and protect their children. The flu jab is not given via the usual injection but instead by a nasal spray which offers children the same protection against flu without the upset that’s comes with having an injection. This may help them in making their decision on taking their children to receive the flu vaccination or not.
Keeping viruses at bay
Practitioners in the early years should also be working closely with parents and children and reminding them how to keep the spread of viruses down to a minimum by things such as:
· Regular hand washing
· Good hand washing techniques
· Catching sneezes and coughs into tissues and binning them
·Follow infection control policy when requesting children stay at home when they have particular illnesses and diseases
· Regularly cleaning toys, door handles, controls, phones etc
· Some settings choose to have antibacterial gel in the settings and encourage parents to use these
Keeping children safe and healthy so they can have the best opportunities and get the most from their early years education.