Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Flu shots 'no-brainer' for those at risk

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Rachel Crump swears by the flu vaccine after her daughter Chloe, 3, was hospitalised with influenza last year. Photo / John Borren
Rachel Crump swears by the flu vaccine after her daughter Chloe, 3, was hospitalised with influenza last year. Photo / John Borren

A Tauranga mother whose 2-year-old was hospitalised with the flu is warning others to get vaccinated - especially those with respiratory illness.

Rachel Crump's unvaccinated daughter Chloe was hospitalised with "a horrific case" of influenza for three days last year and it took her two and a half months to fully recover.

Chloe, now 3, is the face of an Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ campaign to remind people there is still time to get vaccinated.

Getting the flu was life-threatening for Chloe who suffers from brittle asthma, obstructive sleep apnoea and bronchiolitis.

Ms Crump said seeing her daughter struggling to breathe, hooked up to an IV and steroids in the hospital was "awful".

"I've never seen her so sick before.

"It took her a good two-and-a-half months to get right, back to her usual happy, bubbly self.

It completely knocked her out."

Chloe had not been vaccinated when she got the flu.

"I didn't know much about the flu vaccine then, other than it was available.

"It didn't cross my mind to get her immunised," she said.

Ms Crump never imagined the flu would hit her daughter so hard and said now it was a no-brainer to make sure she and her family were vaccinated.

"Everyone has the right to their own personal opinion and I know vaccination is a touchy subject but, for people who have underlying respiratory conditions, vaccination should be a no-brainer."

People underestimated how bad the flu could be, she said. It was not just a cold and could be very serious for some people and even end up killing them.

"I had my own doubts over vaccines but I think my daughter's life is more important - the pros definitely outweigh the cons," Ms Crump said.

Ms Crump said Chloe's asthma symptoms had increased in severity since she was hospitalised last July.

"The potential damage caused by the flu is unknown but in August Chloe will be admitted to Starship hospital for further tests."

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ said respiratory disease was New Zealand's third most common cause of death and costed New Zealand more than $5.5 billion every year.

Respiratory disease accounted for one eighth of all hospital stays.

The flu vaccine:

* Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is reminding people it is not too late to get flu vaccines.

* The vaccine is available for free until July 31 for people 65 years of age and over and those under 65 who have a medical condition such as asthma or chronic respiratory condition.

* Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said 1.2 million New Zealanders have been immunised against the flu this year.

- Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ

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