Flu Season Ahead
With flu season about to hit Britain with full force, children and pregnant women are being urged to get the vaccination.
Although the flu jab does not give 100% protection, it is designed to protect against what are expected to be the worst strains.
Flu is unpleasant for anyone, but it is a particular risk to vulnerable groups (e.g. elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, pregnant women); so flu jabs are not only to protect the individual but also to reduce the spread of the disease.
Children who have not had the flu vaccination are more likely to contract the virus at nursery or school. This not only puts them at risk of an unpleasant illness, but also increases the chance of it spreading to others, placing those in ‘at risk’ groups in greater danger.
NHS England’s medical director for acute care, Professor Keith Willett, explained:
“Flu can be spread more easily by children, especially to vulnerable relatives such as older grandparents, those with heart or lung conditions and pregnant family members.”
The flu vaccination is free for many children:
- children aged six months to two years at risk of flu
- children aged 2-3
- children in reception – year 4
However, figures show that just 18% of school-age children have had the nasal spray immunisation so far.
Dr Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, said:
“The vaccine is the best protection there is against flu, which causes on average 8,000 deaths a year, many of which occur in the winter months.
“The nasal spray vaccine last year reduced children’s risk of flu by 65% meaning they were less likely to spread it to relatives and others they come into close contact with.
“Over the next few weeks ahead of Christmas, we urge parents of eligible children aged two and three to book their vaccine via their GP or local pharmacy.
“Parents should also give consent for eligible school-aged children to receive the vaccine in school. It’s quick, easy and painless.”
The Royal College of Midwives is urging more pregnant women to have their flu jab after a survey of over 2,600 pregnant women, showed 44% of pregnant women avoid vaccinations (including flu), because they are worried about risks to their unborn baby and themselves.
Yet flu was the leading cause of death during pregnancy or soon after between for UK women 2009-2012. Babies born to women with flu are at higher risk of premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth or death.
Mary Ross-Davie, director of the Royal College of Midwives Scotland, said:
“Flu is a really serious illness — it is not just a bad cold. It can have a serious impact on those expecting a baby, which is why we’re encouraging expectant mothers to get the vaccine.”
The NHS recommends all pregnant women to have the flu vaccine, in order to protect both mother and baby; and says that studies have shown that it’s safe to have the vaccine at any stage of the pregnancy.
Flu Jabs in London
Flu jabs are provided free of charge on the NHS for children and pregnant women deemed to be ‘at risk’.
However, there are many other patients who are not eligible for the free flu jab who choose to pay privately for the flu jab in order to avoid the debilitating illness and reduce the risk of them infecting others they come into contact with at work or home.
Private flu vaccination is available at The Smart Clinics based in Brompton Cross (North London) and Wandsworth (South London). Their private clinics offer generous appointment times and extended opening hours to suit busy schedules.
On behalf of The Smart Clinics, a spokesperson explained:
“Flu can be a very nasty disease, which can leave patients feeling run-down and below par for weeks after. The flu jab is a fast, safe and effective means of ensuring protection from the inconvenience and unpleasantness caused by the virus.
“We highly recommend the flu jab for all patients, not just those deemed at risk.”
The Smart Clinics
The Smart Clinics is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee. Private dentistry is also available as an optional extra.
However, non-members are also welcome to access The Smart Clinics’ GPs, nurses and healthcare professionals on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.
For more information contact us on email@example.com or call 020 7052 0070.