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Our son was left barely able to breathe because of common illness – here’s what all parents need to know

THE parents of a young boy who was left ‘unable to breathe’ due to a common illness have urged others to get their kids jabbed.

Anjali and Ben Wildblood from Bristol had booked their little boy Raja in for a flu vaccine.

Parents Anjali and Ben Wildblood have recalled ‘their worst nightmare’ after their son Raja became seriously ill with the flu

But before the two-year-old was able to have the jab, he became very sick, suffering with a high temperature and breathing difficulties.

Both parents are NHS consultants and said their little boy had previously suffered with croup – so they had experience of him being poorly before.

However, the family, who live in Bristol, said that this had clearly been ‘some other very concerning respiratory problem’.

That day, Anjali and Ben took Raja to A&E, where he was treated before being sent home.

But his condition got worse and Raja started to suffer with exhaustion and had a soaring temperature.

The couple said: “He had no strength whatsoever and what was so extremely worrying was that he barely had the strength to breathe – every parent’s worst nightmare.

“We returned to A&E and he was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit (ICU).

“Even as NHS consultants, seeing your child in ICU is a terribly frightening experience.”

From there Raja was put under general anaesthetic and intubated, which involved inserting a tube into his throat so he was able to breathe.

His parents added: “His swab results came back showing he had influenza type A. After two long, agonising days of intubation in ICU, his condition improved and he began to recover. He is now home and doing well.

“No parent wants this for their child or to go through a similar terrible experience.

“We urge other parents of two to three-year-olds to ensure your child gets their flu vaccine as soon as possible.”

Their story comes as figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed that there has been a 70 per cent jump in hospital admissions for under-fives with the virus.

Uptake of the jab is lowest among two and three-year-olds at the same time as more youngsters are requiring hospital treatment.

The data shows that flu is circulating at higher levels than in the past few years.

UKHSA said young children are particularly vulnerable and can become seriously ill from the flu.

He said: “For the third week running we have seen hospitalisation rates among children under five jump up, with a 70% increase in just the last week. Over 200 children were hospitalised because of flu in one week.

“Two and three-year-olds can get protection with a free nasal spray vaccine from the NHS.

“Nobody wants their child to get sick so I strongly urge parents to book the vaccine at their GP surgery as soon as possible.”

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