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Warning to parents after surge in flu cases strikes – with kids under 5 at risk

CASES of the flu have surged in the last week – with kids under five at high risk of contracting the illness.

The season has hit earlier than usual and medics have warned that intensive care admissions have risen fast in children in recent weeks.

Parents have been urged to be on the lookout for flu in children as hospital admissions rise

Flu is caused by the influenza virus and can be very unpleasant for little ones, the elderly, and people with underlying health problems.

It can lead to serious issues such as bronchitis and pneumonia, with kids catching and spreading flu easily.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “Our latest data shows early signs of the anticipated threat we expected to face from flu this season.

“We’re urging parents in particular not to be caught out as rates of hospitalisations and ICU admissions are currently rising fastest in children under 5.

“This will be a concern for many parents and carers of young children, and we urge them to take up the offer of vaccination for eligible children as soon as possible.”

Uptake of flu jabs is lagging behind last season, with just 12 per cent of two year olds having received a vaccine compared to 17.4 per cent this time last year.

The figure is slightly higher at 12.8 per cent for three year olds and 12.4 per cent for pregnant women.

Just 18.2 per cent of Brits under 65 and in a clinical risk group have been vaccinated, compared to over 20 per cent last year.

Around 33 million people across the UK are eligible for their vaccine – with close to 26million also being eligible for a Covid booster vaccine.

Experts previously warned of a ‘twindemic’ where both viruses explode at once after a big outbreak in Australia in September.

Earlier this month it was also revealed that thousands of Brits had been given the wrong flu jab – leaving them exposed to the deadly virus.

Many people aged 65 years and over could have been given a flu jab which is ineffective for the age group.

Experts have called on healthcare professionals to re-vaccinate all those who received the wrong vaccines with an effective jab so they are protected against the virus this winter.

The jab, known as QIVe, does not create a strong enough immune response in those 65 and older to keep them protected from flu.

The vaccine is only meant be given to people between 18–64 years who have underlying health issues such as chronic heart disease or diabetes.

It’s important to get yourself vaccinated for the flu if you are eligible.

The illness can have nasty side effects, with the main symptoms including a fever of more than 38C, a chesty cough, headache, tiredness and aching muscles as well as a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing.

Some people can also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or joint and limb pain.

It usually takes between one and three days for flu symptoms to develop after catching the virus.

In most cases people feel better after a week.

It is spread in droplets, meaning that anyone sneezing, coughing or talking up to six feet away from you can spread it to you.

People who have been vaccinated have a much better chance of fighting it off. The NHS offers vulnerable people free vaccinations.

The incubation period (between exposure and symptoms) is between one and four days.

After symptoms have begun, adults are contagious for five to 10 days but children can be contagious for longer.

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  1. Pingback: Fruit and veg are too expensive and we’re living with anxiety every week – is the cost of living crisis making us ill?

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