As many schools begin to reopen after both the long summer holidays and the lockdown restrictions, strict Covid-19 secure measures have been put in place to keep children & staff safe. This year more than ever, it is vital to understand how we can combat the complications of flu as well as helping to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Flu is something we have all had at one time or another. Sometimes the symptoms are mild and despite being unpleasant for many of us, we are able to recover within a few days. But for the oldest, most vulnerable and the youngest, flu can have severe consequences. We often believe that the elderly are much more susceptible to these consequences and while this is true, it is the serious effects that it has on children that are frequently overlooked.
It is assumed that children are much more likely to catch and spread the influenza virus due to being in such close proximity to other children at school. This year, due to Covid-19 social distancing measures, this risk may reduce. However there are concerns social distancing will be difficult to manage in an educational setting, especially amongst younger children.
While children with underlying health conditions will find the effects of flu much worse, even healthy children can find themselves with severe complications such as: bronchitis, pneumonia, lung infections and painful ear infections. Likewise, children with underlying health conditions are at a much higher-risk of being admitted to hospital.
With the infection rate of Covid-19 among infants and children remaining low, it is believed that children do remain largely unharmed by Covid-19. However, they are much more vulnerable to seasonal flu.
Some experts fear that this winter will bring a “twindemic”, whereby seasonal flu and coronavirus (Covid-19) infections are both experienced at the same time, a “double infection”. There is a possibility this would create a deadlier infection that will be harder to fight off than either virus on its own. While experts remain convinced children are less likely to catch coronavirus, children with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart conditions, and underlying neurological problems remain at higher risk for both infections and increase the risk of making their existing condition worse.
The best and most effective way to protect children from seasonal flu is to get them vaccinated. This can be administered either by the injected flu jab, which can be given from 6 months old. Alternatively, there is the option of a quick, needle-free nasal spray that is available for children aged between 2 years and 18 years old.
Typically, the nasal spray becomes available later in the year, roughly November and requires 2 doses for full protection for first time users. If you are looking for earlier protection for your child, we would recommend the flu jab which becomes available from 14th September.
There are many symptoms of flu and Covid-19 that are similar, and it may be difficult to distinguish which is the cause. Of the two, we can only prevent flu. So by having your child vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible, it offers protection against 4 strains of the potentially deadly influenza virus.
In addition to protecting the health of children against flu, having a flu jab helps communities achieve herd immunity to protect your family members, friends, those most vulnerable in society and those unable to have the flu jab. Although this offers no direct protection against Covid-19, it does minimize the risk of a coinfection.
Get in touch if you have any further questions:
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