Baby Health in Winter

Children can be “super-spreaders” of flu and pass on the virus to others, including those who are most vulnerable to illness like pregnant women, babies, and the elderly. So, senior doctors request parents to vaccinate their kids and protect not just others but also the kids from the deadly virus.

According to OVG reports, on average, 600 people die every year in the UK from complications of flu. In the year 2013, the number has gone to over 10,000 deaths, and in 2008-2009 it was estimated to cause more than 13,000 deaths. Each year, flu has been one of the leading causes for sending hundreds of thousands of people to GP visits, and tens of thousands to hospital stays.

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Baby Health in Winter


Generally, the annual flu season runs in the UK and the rest of the northern hemisphere between October to March or April. Most of the cases occur between December and February. However, this year it has hit the UK earlier than usual – medical professionals said jabs are the best defense against the highly infectious disease.

While the number of people above the age of 65 getting vaccinated in 2019 has been better than the previous year, less than only 67% of two- to three-year-olds have had their jab. Urging the 25 million Britons eligible for the free vaccination, NHS national medical director Prof Stephen Powis said, “We know that children are ‘super spreaders’ of flu, particularly around the holiday season when they’re more likely to see elderly relatives. So our message is simple: the flu season is here, get your jab now. It might be the difference between a Christmas to remember and one to forget.”

The chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, highlighted that not only the increasing number of patients puts pressure on hospital services, but they can also impact the health conditions of older people very adversely. Older people and those with underlying health conditions can suffer from severe health conditions, like pneumonia and bronchitis, if they catch flu once. Flu generally causes mild to severe illness, which at times can lead to death. It’s different from a cold and typically comes on suddenly. Some of the common symptoms of flu (influenza) include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, or fatigue. At times it can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, particularly in children.

CDC highlights that it’s important to note – fever might not be a symptom of flu.

Anyone can be infected with flu, but the following five groups of people are the most vulnerable to it:

  • All children under age five.
  • Adults age 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People suffering from any chronic health problems, especially heart, lung, or kidney disease (including asthma)
  • People with weakened immune systems caused due to some illness or medication.

Baby Health in Winter


In spite of all the scientific advancement and the extra efforts taken by PHE through it refreshed Catch It, Bin It, Kill It campaign aiming to prevent the spread of flu with hygiene advice, many avoid it. It’s sad, but there are still many parents who prefer not sending their kids to school on the vaccination day to avoid a required jab!

Many believe in the dangerous tales that are all over the social media, and also at the school gate – these claim the nasal spray vaccine to cause a health risk to children. Dr. Richard Pebody, Head of Flu, Public Health England, explained that the vaccine contains weakened viruses that don’t cause flu but builds the child’s immunity to influenza. It’s somewhat the same as the natural infection, but without the symptoms.

Many mothers also claimed their children became ill just by coming into contact with particles released by the spray. However, Dr. Pebody said, “Contacts are not at risk of becoming seriously ill with the flu vaccine virus, either through being in the same room where flu vaccine has been given or by being in contact with a recently vaccinated individual.”

NHS clearly states that the side effects of the flu vaccine are pretty minor. After having the vaccine, children might develop a runny or blocked nose, headache, tiredness, or a loss of appetite. And in rarest of the rare cases (about 1 in 900,000 vaccinations), a child has been reported to suffer from a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the vaccine.

Anaphylaxis, which can be very serious, is treated with adrenaline. And it happens within a few minutes of the vaccination. Every person who vaccinates a child is trained to deal with allergic reactions. And with prompt treatment, the child makes a speedy recovery. Thus, it, too, cannot be an excuse for not vaccinating a child.

This winter pledge to protect your child, and the society from the deadly flu virus!

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