Getting your disabled child vaccinated against flu is the single best thing you can do to protect them from getting very unwell, including from Group Strep A infection. That’s according to a leading children’s respiratory doctor who led our Dr Martin Samuels, a consultant respiratory paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital, urged parents to get their child immunised against flu during our Ask the Expert session on winter illnesses last week. He said flu alone was making a lot of children very, very ill this winter. While the vaccine may not stop them getting other viruses or bacterial infections, there’s some evidence that if you child has flu immunisation it reduces the risk for Group A Strep ‘kicking in’ afterwards.Dr Martin Samuels More than 2,300 parents have so far viewed our Facebook Live session where Dr Samuels spent more than an hour answering parents’ questions on what to do if their disabled child catches flu or is sick with chest infections. Dr Samuels, who also works at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said disabled children were not necessarily more at risk of catching Group Strep A but some children who struggled to clear their airways or who had low muscle tone could be susceptible to getting sicker from the bacterial infection. He added: “Viruses like flu make you more prone to bacterial infections like Group A Strep – they cause inflammation in the body and group A Strep can get in and cause more significant infections.” He said he strongly recommended that all children between 2 years and 16 should have flu vaccination – and that it needs to be done every single year because the strains change every year. Dr Samuels said it was common for Strep A to cause chest infections like bronchitis but in more serious cases it could also cause meningitis, brain abscesses and bone infections. During his broadcast Dr Sameul covered a wide range of topics, answering parents’ questions on everything from antibiotics and vitamin supplements to care for tube fed children with chest infections. Topics covered in the Facebook Live broadcast included: Spotting the signs of Group Strep A infection Knowing when to seek medical advice Tips for clearing your child’s blocked nose and easing coughs When to can send your child back to school safely Giving antibiotic pills to you child when liquid suspensions are unavailable Caring for children with immune deficiencies who get a chest infection How to improve a child’s immunity The effects of cold air and exercise on breathing Watch Dr Samuel’s Q&A session on Facebook or You Tube. Find out more about flu vaccinations and managing other common winter viruses in disabled children on our website.