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Got any questions about flu? Ask GP and broadcaster, Dr Rosemary Leonard! chance to win £300 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(340 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Oct-17 14:09:13

As winter draws in, it’s crucial to look after ourselves, our families and our little ones. Flu in particular can be a threat at this time of year. Despite the flu being a fairly common illness, its causes, symptoms and remedies can cause some confusion.

With that being said, GP and broadcaster, Dr Rosemary Leonard is here to answer your flu queries and questions. Whether you have questions about the flu vaccination, symptoms in younger children or want to know more about the flu remedies that are out there, Dr Rosemary is here to help.

Dr. Rosemary Leonard, GP and broadcaster, said: “Young children’s bodies can find it hard to cope with flu, so it is especially important to protect them with the vaccine. The nasal spray is a quick, effective and painless alternative to needles.

Once ill, children also tend to spread infection more than adults. The vaccine helps to reduce the spread of flu to other more vulnerable family members, such as grandparents.”

Post any questions you have about the flu on the thread below and we’ll choose 20 for Dr. Rosemary to answer and then post a link to the responses as soon as possible. Everyone who posts their questions will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Here is some information about Dr Rosemary Leonard:
Rosemary has been the resident doctor on BBC Breakfast, and writes a weekly column for the Daily Express and Sunday Express Magazine. She is also the Medical editor and feature writer for Woman and Home magazine. She is still a practising doctor, working as the senior partner at a practice in south London. She has worked as the national GP representative on the Committee on Safety of Medicines, been a member of the Human Genetics Commission and a non- executive Director of the Health protection Agency. She trained in medicine at Cambridge University, where she was awarded double first class honours. She was awarded an M.B.E. for her services to healthcare in 2004, and was awarded ‘Health Advice Columnist of the Year’ in 2016.

Thanks and good luck!


Standard Insight T&C’s apply

hannahbjm Thu 26-Oct-17 14:15:49

I would like to know why you give flu vaccines in school but all others at gp surgery? Is this because it is not very effective so trial and error?

PaintingByNumbers Thu 26-Oct-17 14:21:40

How can my daughter have a flu jab if she is 10 years old? GP won't do it as no pre-existing condition, school won't as she is too old, private pharmacies won't as she is too young. Everyone else in my family has had it now.

MakeTeaNotWar Thu 26-Oct-17 14:22:25

Why is the nasal vaccine only available to young children? Perhaps there would be better take up if it was available to everyone, rather than a jab?

Caillou Thu 26-Oct-17 15:35:23

I home educate my children, so they do not automatically get the vaccine from school,
my surgery are refusing to vaccinate them as they are of school age,
Which option is the best to have them vaccinated without so much stress?

starlight36 Fri 27-Oct-17 10:46:32

Is there any reason why the schools don't offer the vaccination until November or is it just a case of our school being late in the timetable? I was able to get my vaccination done privately in September and pre-school vaccination are having theirs now but our local schools won't be doing it until mid November which then won't be fully active until December - surely that is well within the actual flu season?

iklboo Fri 27-Oct-17 11:06:52

I have Ménière's disease. Is it worth me getting the flu jab? My GP surgery keep sending me texts but I'd rather not if it's not really necessary.

kateandme Fri 27-Oct-17 11:14:55

theres often rumours. definites on how cold and flu is spread. ie when your cold,damp hair, when your around someone else with a cold or flue,in winter is it passed or gotten.
also when you have the jab we hear many saying oh no ive got a cold. can you explain on any of these.

MiraB Fri 27-Oct-17 11:20:17

My son is 9 years old and in Year 5 so will not be offered the flu jab in school. He also has ASD and very low immunity. I asked the GP about getting him the flu jab and was told that he does not need it as he is healthy. I tried to explain to her that even the smallest cold makes him very sick and takes him a long time to recover. Also other 9 year olds in year 4 would be getting it and the NHS obviously believes that they need it otherwise they wouldn't be sponsoring it. But because he was born 4 days before Sept 1 he suddenly does not need it anymore. I think its more about financing ! But what is even more disconcerting is that there is no way to get it privately even though I am willing to pay for it. I think NHS and GP need to pay a little heed to parents of older children who believe their kids would benefit from the jab and are willing to pay for it. In this situation where can I get the flu jab privately ?

Lissette Fri 27-Oct-17 11:34:22

My son is being vaccinated in school in late November so i was wondering, like starlight, why it was happening later in the flu season. He's being investigated for allergic asthma so I'm keen for him to be vaccinated.

SillyMoomin Fri 27-Oct-17 11:53:32

Feed a cold, starve a fever- is there any truth in this or it simply a case of what you can when you can?

sharond101 Fri 27-Oct-17 12:56:14

When is the best time to get the flu vaccination? My Son isn't getting it at school until 27th November which seems really late.

MorrisZapp Fri 27-Oct-17 12:58:23

What's the difference between a heavy cold, and the flu? There are annual fights on here between people claiming to have the flu and people saying they can't possibly have it because people with flu can't type.

rooella Fri 27-Oct-17 13:03:07

Why do under 2's not get vaccinated?

dubdub17 Fri 27-Oct-17 13:06:24

Can people undergoing 4 chemotherapy sessions every three weeks have the flu jab? If so, when is the best time for them to have it?

ILikeBigBumpsAndICannotLie Fri 27-Oct-17 14:07:00

Is there any scientific research confirming that a male adult with flu is more unwell than a female with flu.

WeKnowFrogsGoShaLaLaLaLa Fri 27-Oct-17 14:19:59

ILike grin

Rosehips Fri 27-Oct-17 14:38:22

As a healthy adult do I need to buy a flu jab every year or will I still have reasonable immunity from previous years' jabs?

lolly2011 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:57:06

What is the best way to treat the flu for a speedy recovery?

MoreProseccoNow Fri 27-Oct-17 15:30:57

How accurate are the predictions for the strain of the virus which you will be protected against by annual flu vaccinations?

Amber0685 Fri 27-Oct-17 15:37:13

I am a healthy adult 40yrs old, but going into hospital for a hip replacement at the end of next month. Would you recommend vaccination?

UpOnDown Fri 27-Oct-17 15:40:21

Which is more effective, nasal or jab?

Lisas123A Fri 27-Oct-17 15:43:13

My son has an egg allergy. Would it be safe for him to have the flu jab?

LadyinCement Fri 27-Oct-17 15:47:16

I would like to know how you know there is a flu epidemic. I have had Real Flu a couple of times in my life and on both occasions I was utterly poleaxed. I was certainly incapable of going to the doctor's. Likewise d&v - who leaves the safety of the bathroom to go to the GP? confused

NerrSnerr Fri 27-Oct-17 15:57:35

Would you recommend that healthy adults get the vaccine privately?

LadyLapsang Fri 27-Oct-17 18:15:44

I understand only 46% of front-line NHS staff were vaccinated against flu in 2015-16. Considering health professionals have access to the best medical evidence, why do you think uptake of the vaccine in these groups is not higher?

purplepandas Fri 27-Oct-17 19:15:23

I have heard that the nasal spray can be painful in some children and is not used in some areas of Canada for this reason ( jab instead). Can you comment on this? Info was from someone who works on WHO vaccination and pain research so not just a random!

Thesqueezermustghost Fri 27-Oct-17 19:24:53

What are the economics behind vaccination. How much profit is made by drug companies?

foxessocks Fri 27-Oct-17 19:31:01

My dd got very upset just before her nasal spray and consequently was quite snotty when the nurse finally did it. A lot came back out of her nose but the nurse assured me most of it went in and it was fine...I can't have it done again presumably so do I just hope it worked?

IndianaMoleWoman Fri 27-Oct-17 19:36:55

I’ve heard that a number of people die from flu each year. I’ve also heard that if you have flu, you shouldn’t seek medical attention as you will spread it. At what point is someone, particularly a child, ill enough to seek medical attention for flu?

PorridgeAgainAbney Fri 27-Oct-17 20:26:18

I was going to get the vaccine because there are people in my family who have compromised immune systems (due to temporary and long term conditions) so I wanted to make sure I wouldn't pass it onto them, but they are all now having the vaccine anyway.

As a healthy adult with no medical issues, is flu likely to be anything more than a few days in bed, or is it worth me paying to have the vaccine for my own sake?

ErinSophia Fri 27-Oct-17 20:31:35

Why can't my under 2 year old get the flu jab ?

RB68 Fri 27-Oct-17 20:33:54

How far away are we from the all flu variations vaccine that lasts several years?

Sazzle1984 Fri 27-Oct-17 20:42:13

What ingredients are in the flu vaccine?

AlakazamAlakazoom Fri 27-Oct-17 21:56:52

If a child has severe viral wheeze is there any chance the nasal spray flu vaccine would trigger a wheeze reaction?

Fizzyxo Fri 27-Oct-17 22:16:59

Is there a natural way to treat the flu?

Naturapathy is growing bigger and bigger each day, just thought there'd be a natural remedy for most things.

Belmo Fri 27-Oct-17 22:21:32

How effective is the flu jag likely to be?

del2929 Sat 28-Oct-17 00:16:27

my 16 month old takes aspirin for a CHD . i was told the nasal spray wasnt suitable for her and that she will need the jab instead. i was just wondering why? could you shed any light?

Also. why cant adults over 18 have the nasal spray?

MollyHuaCha Sat 28-Oct-17 00:16:37

My neighbour has a flu vaccination last month and claimed it gave her flu exactly two weeks later.

Is this possible?

DaisyDando Sat 28-Oct-17 01:17:26

I’ve only ever had flu once and it was horrendous. I was a healthy 22 year old. Almost 20 years later and I was wondering what the best line of defence is, other than the jab.

ShovingLeopard Sat 28-Oct-17 01:54:23

How accurate are the figures for numbers of people with flu? If I had it, I can't imagine going to the GP unless I was ill enough to be hospitalised. Never once have I had bloods taken to check which particular virus I am suffering from when ill. I imagine I'm not the only one, so how do the official compilers of flu figures prepare their data? Are the numbers recorded likely to be understated?

PepeLePew Sat 28-Oct-17 07:04:30

I realise flu is contagious, hence epidemics, but if one family member catches it, how likely is it that everyone else will do so? I am a single parent and can’t really see how I’d cope if I, and the children, all got sick. I asked the GP about immunisation but she said I shouldn’t worry and what will be will be. hmm

BamburyFuriou3 Sat 28-Oct-17 07:20:33

I've heard it's possible to have flu very mildly, and a cold very severely - so is there a way to tell which you have?

NellMangel Sat 28-Oct-17 08:33:58

My 3 year old recently had the flu vaccine spray and it was easy and stress free so I'd like to reassure any parents who aren't sure about going ahead.

When I've asked friends if they'll be vaccinating their toddler they've been dismissive and seem to think the flu is just a bad cold. What exactly are the risks associated with flu?

NanooCov Sat 28-Oct-17 08:43:14

My toddler (2 years 10.5 months) is due to get the nasal vaccination for the first time in a couple of weeks. I’ll have a very new newborn baby by then (due to be born next week with any luck). Is there any risk to the baby from “shedding” as I understand the nasal vaccination is a live attenuated vaccine and shedding can be a risk to immune compromised people - I’m not sure if a newborn falls into that category?

AnnieHoo Sat 28-Oct-17 10:58:25

I would like to know if you can get the flu virus at the same time as a chest infection? I have a chest infection and now a fever can antibiotics clear that?

georgedawes Sat 28-Oct-17 12:31:30

I'd be interested to know if the introduction of the children's vaccine for flu has had an impact on overall infection and complication rates.

Ferryfairy Sat 28-Oct-17 12:45:08

How long can the flu virus survive on surfaces in the home?

TracyKNixon Sat 28-Oct-17 12:48:23

If I have allergies, am I more likely to get the flu?

forcompsonly Sat 28-Oct-17 12:50:54

As there are so many strains of the flu how effective is the vaccination overall - how many strains can it cover for?

Elizasmum02 Sat 28-Oct-17 12:55:51

whats the best way to treat the flu? what medicines or natural rememdies would you recommend?

andywedge Sat 28-Oct-17 12:59:50

Do men suffer more than women or is man flu a myth?

IonaAilidh11 Sat 28-Oct-17 13:00:11

can getting flu jab affect allergies

earnshaw47 Sat 28-Oct-17 13:04:17

what the difference between a cold and flu

tallandlong Sat 28-Oct-17 13:05:01

is it better to sweat it out, or take medicine to take the edge off?

007hel Sat 28-Oct-17 13:07:24

I would like to know more about the flu vaccine, a few of my elder relatives have become very poorly since having it and I wonder if my ds should have it if he gets offered this year. Also if we have vaccines such as the flu one, is our immune system effected in fighting things it would have been able to otherwise. Does that make sense?

finleypop Sat 28-Oct-17 13:21:37

How is flu transmitted & can it be avoided?

devito92 Sat 28-Oct-17 13:28:47

When's the best time to apply the spray ? ie bed time or first thing in the morning

yoeydavis Sat 28-Oct-17 13:34:36

when it comes to the elderly or very young when do you decide it's time to go to hospital. my nan is 84 so i worry about her getting ill.

maryandbuzz1 Sat 28-Oct-17 13:41:02

How long are you contagious for?
Does having the flu vaccination make you ill?

stefalfie11 Sat 28-Oct-17 13:54:04

Why is the nasal vaccination only available to small children? Would it be possible to make it accessible to everyone?

Floralnomad Sat 28-Oct-17 14:09:54

Is it ok to have the flu jab if you are already ill at the time with a chest infection ?

wobblywindows Sat 28-Oct-17 14:10:33

I've been reading up on this page >

If the nasal spray "works even better than the injected flu vaccine." why do only children get the nasal spray?

"The vaccine contains live but weakened flu viruses..." << is that the same as live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) ? And is there such a thing as a dead virus ? (from other reading )

Lastly, what preservatives are used in the nasal spray, and is the delivery mechanism multi-shot or single use?

Since nhs freely admits that children are the most efficient vector to spread flu into the community, I have a hard time seeing their motive for using live viruses on schoolchildren.

Pastychef Sat 28-Oct-17 14:13:23

Does taking a vitamin C supplement daily help to ward off the flu?

janeyf1 Sat 28-Oct-17 14:40:17

When is it best to get the flu vaccine so as to prevent catching it and how do you know it will be the right type to ward of any new strains that are coming?

lotte321 Sat 28-Oct-17 14:42:53

Apart from 'catch it, bin it, kill it', are there any other useful preventional mantras that can be followed?

PugwallsSummer Sat 28-Oct-17 14:56:12

What are the most common side effects of the flu jab/nasal spray vaccine, and what are the biggest risks?

sophiefx Sat 28-Oct-17 14:58:46

If my daughter who is currently 4 months old was to have the flu vaccine, would she get a temperature afterwards? And should I expect a crying baby for the day or 2 afterwards?

fld14 Sat 28-Oct-17 14:59:02

Does taking Vitamin C regularly help prevent you contracting flu?

iut044 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:01:49

What tips do you have to recover from the flu?

lovemyflipflops Sat 28-Oct-17 15:03:52

My son has a multitude of allergies, hay fever, asthma, and eczema. How safe is his immune system battling this immunisation when he has other issues already.

happysouls Sat 28-Oct-17 15:05:44

Are there any remedies that actually work to help cure colds and flu or do they just relieve symptoms?

Catmadroo Sat 28-Oct-17 15:10:11

The flu spray for children I believe has animal products in it, what is the alternative for vegetarians and vegans?

LeeR1985 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:11:11

Do you have to get the flu vaccination on a regular basis or is it a one-off shot?

mooota1514 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:11:52

What's the difference between a heavy cold, and the flu? There are annual fights on here between people claiming to have the flu and people saying they can't possibly have it because people with flu can't type.

lizd31 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:13:01

I have to have the flu vaccine every year as I have fibromyalgia & rheumatoid arthritis & am on Methotrexate so my immune system is compromised but I have suspected glandular fever which I've had for several months so my nurse says I shouldn't have the vaccine until I'm certain I don't have it. Do you know why that is as I'm concerned if I don't have it that I could be very ill should I get the flu this year.

Ethan260908 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:13:32

Does the nasal spray have the same effectiveness as the old fashioned jab? Thanks

littleme96 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:38:43

If the nasal spray contains a live form of the virus, do the children that have had it "shed" and potentially pass the flu virus to others? If so, how long does that last for after being given the spray?

shellywkd Sat 28-Oct-17 15:42:41

How do I know the difference between actual flu and a really bad virus? A lot of people say oh I have flu but usually only have a cold and it would be good to know which is which

Sid98 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:57:29

Do you need the flu jab or is it just a precaution

dul4hw Sat 28-Oct-17 16:11:10

My son repeatedly suffers from a viral induced wheeze, is it safe for him to have the flu jab?

gd2011 Sat 28-Oct-17 16:22:57

With so many different strains of flu about, is it worth having a flu jab which presumably only protects against a small number of them?

ThemisA Sat 28-Oct-17 16:23:49

I know that flu is a virus so does not respond to antibiotics but is it possible for the symptoms to become bacterial ie. a chest infection as a result of the flu and therefore on rare occasions require antibiotics?

footdust Sat 28-Oct-17 16:24:23

Quite a fewf people I know say they will never have the flu jab again as it made them really ill - can the vaccine do that?

xcxcsophiexcxc Sat 28-Oct-17 16:33:11

How many pregnant women have difficulties out of those who chose not to receive the flu vaccine ?

mo3733 Sat 28-Oct-17 16:37:00

i have under active thyroid. would the flu jab conflict with my medicine for ?

amelia4levi Sat 28-Oct-17 16:38:17

is there a age of adult or child that is a more likely age to get the flu?

emmav6 Sat 28-Oct-17 16:51:23

the flu virus mutates so quickly, how confident are you the vaccine will be effective?

itsmeexxx Sat 28-Oct-17 17:00:05

What does the flu jab actually contain?

AnimalAddict Sat 28-Oct-17 17:03:14

For how long is the flu contagious for? smile

ImGoingForATwix Sat 28-Oct-17 17:18:06

Does the flu vaccine offer protection for all strains of flu, or just against the one strain of flu that the experts predict will strike?

vonniebab2 Sat 28-Oct-17 17:20:09

Sometimes when Ive had my vaccination my arm tends to ache other times is does not what is the reason for this?

TheSpottedZebra Sat 28-Oct-17 17:21:04

Apart from having the flu jab, and hand washing hygiene, is there anything I can do to lessen the likelihood of my family and I getting the flu?

AuFinch Sat 28-Oct-17 17:28:10

My mother has an annual flu jab and she says she is usually a little ill after it - i understand that a jab contains a tiny amount of the virus so your immune system can kill it and recognise it if it gets in again - so when she is ill does that mean her immune system is not up to having the jab?

Spices001 Sat 28-Oct-17 18:20:37

If you’ve already had flu is it less likely to reoccur

MSHGW Sat 28-Oct-17 18:34:32

What ways, in addition to vaccination, can people avoid catching or spreading the flu?

Funkyferret Sat 28-Oct-17 18:37:28

What are the statistics for reducing serious illness or death from flu since the vaccinations were introduced?

asuwere Sat 28-Oct-17 19:10:01

How long does the flu vaccine work for?

thereinmadnesslies Sat 28-Oct-17 19:14:19

Like an earlier poster, I’d like to know how I can get a flu jab for my 11 year old son. Pharmacies are only allowed to vaccinate over 16s. I’m uncomfortable that my younger child had the nasal spray at school, and DH and I can pay for jabs but there doesn’t appear to be any way to protect him. I’d feel awful if he was very ill with flu when the rest of the family is ok. I’d also like to have him vaccinated to protect his very frail 93yr old grandmother.
I’m happy to pay - is there any way to solve this?

sarah861421 Sat 28-Oct-17 19:45:25

My husband has the flu jab every year and always has a "very bad cold" after. he calls it flu but its obviously not. The GP always says its coincident but this seems unlikely. why does this happen

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