Advice issued amid high East Mids levels of flu, COVID-19 and scarlet fever

Published on: Tuesday, 3rd January 2023
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As pupils and students return to school following the Christmas break, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is reminding people that winter illnesses continue to circulate at high levels, but following simple steps can help protect children, minimise the spread of illness in education and childcare settings and protect wider communities. 

Prof Susan Hopkins, Chief medical Adviser at UKHSA, said: “It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings as much as possible. If your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better and the fever has resolved. 

“Helping children to learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practice regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water. Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues then binning them is another simple way to help stop illness from spreading. 

“Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell don’t visit healthcare settings unless urgent, or visit vulnerable people.

“Remember that flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus.  We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low. Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness. Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.”

Jharna Kumbang, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, UKHSA East Midlands, said: “As we see more cases of flu across the East Midlands, we can all play a part reducing infections spreading by following simple measures. It is so important to remember that catching flu or other infections for more vulnerable people can be far more serious. 

"Taking sensible measures to stop bugs spreading is something we all can and should do: Good hygiene, taking up vaccinations when offered and not mixing with vulnerable people when you are poorly yourself.”

Those eligible for the flu vaccine include:

  • Children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2022
  • All primary school-aged children
  • Some secondary school-aged children

You can get more information about getting your child vaccinated against flu by clicking here.

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