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Children's health

04th Dec 2023

Warning issued to parents as flu cases set to ‘skyrocket’ this winter

Flu cases are already surging, the HSE has warned

Parents are being warned to protect their children from the flu this winter as cases are expected to skyrocket over the holidays.

The HSE is urging parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

The flu vaccine is free to children aged between 2 and 17. This is the first time people aged between 13 and 17 can get the vaccine for free.

It is available at your GP office or local pharmacy.

However, children in primary school, and senior infants, can be given the vaccine in school.

The vaccine is also administered nasally, which makes it a lot less daunting for your little ones.

The nasal vaccine will be sprayed once into each of your child’s nostrils.

The HSE decided to extend the free vaccine to children because they’re twice as likely to spread the flu.

The HSE’s Dr Aparna Keegan stated:

“In the coming weeks and into the seasonal break we anticipate that flu, among other winter viruses, will begin to circulate more widely as we see an increase in socialising with friends and family over Christmas.

“In response to this, we are extending the age limit for the children’s flu vaccine to include all those aged 13 to 17 years.”

Parents have been advised to keep children with flu-like symptoms out of school this winter.

You should also try to avoid socialising if you or your child is displaying symptoms.

Symptoms include a fever, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and a cough.

You may also suffer from a headache, fatigue, trouble sleeping, chills, and in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

For more advice on dealing with flu season, click here.