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Land the first blow against flu

Carers as well as their loved ones with cystic fibrosis urged to get vaccinated as flu season returns and winter draws nearer.

The annual influenza (flu) vaccine has arrived, and experts urge those living with cystic fibrosis (CF) and their families to make sure that they have the jab to guard against some of the most common forms of the virus.

People living with cystic fibrosis are particularly vulnerable to the bugs, which can cause serious lung damage, and it is vital that the people who care for them also get protected to help prevent spreading the virus.

Children age 2–17 years with long-term health conditions such as CF can receive Fluenz®, a nasal spray version of the vaccine, which is also available to children who do not have CF, aged two to four on 31 August 2016 or in school years one to three. 

The nasal spray is suitable for the majority of children with CF; however, if you have any doubt if your child falls into any of the categories outlined below you can discuss it with your GP or CF team. 

Instances where the nasal spray may not be suitable could include severe immunosuppression (usually for those receiving high doses of steroids for a long time or recovering from transplant), wheezing at the time of vaccination, severe asthma or egg allergy.

For those children where Fluenz® is not suitable, an alternative inactivated vaccine by injection will be offered. Children with cystic fibrosis aged between six months and two years will also be offered this vaccination, as will adults with the condition.

Becky Kilgariff, Support Services Manager at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “It is vital that people with cystic fibrosis and the people who care for them visit their GP for their free vaccine to guard against flu season. We would advise that other family members consider getting the shot too, even if they may have to pay, to ensure the whole household is as safe as can be.”