Parents are being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against flu as they return to school after the Christmas break.
East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group wants parents to make sure children have taken advantage of the free flu jab as the go back to school.
Health experts found that vaccinating the majority of children can help stop flu circulating among the wider population, protecting all those they come in to contact with and stopping it spreading to friends and family.
Dr Charles Pidsley, a Burton GP and chairman of East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Many parents think flu is just a bad cold. It's not. Flu can cause serious complications. Every year some children with flu become extremely ill and many of these would have been protected if they had received their free vaccination.
"Unvaccinated children are not only at risk of getting flu, but can pass it on to others, including elderly or frail people who could be especially vulnerable.
"If your child is showing symptoms of a cold or flu, the best thing you can do is make sure they have lots of rest and fluids.
"Talk to the pharmacist about over the counter remedies. Antibiotics will not help. Keep them home and away from friends or family members that are over 65, are pregnant or have a long-term condition so they do not pass it on. And if you need advice when the pharmacists are closed call 111 to talk to the NHS. You’ll be advised on the best course of action."
Children who are eligible for flu vaccines from their GP surgery include:
- Children aged two and three (born between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2015). For younger children the vaccine is a nasal spray not an injection.
- Children who have just turned four years old are also eligible for flu vaccination provided they were aged three on August 31, 2017.
- Children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four
- Children aged two to 17 with long-term health conditions such as asthma
More information on colds and flu including a symptoms checker is available by visiting NHS Choices www.nhs.uk