Researchers at the Trust are appealing for families of children born prematurely or with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, Down's Syndrome and cerebral palsy to take part in a national study.
For most children, flu is a mild and relatively short illness. However, children with pre-existing medical conditions, or those born prematurely, may develop more serious complications from flu such as ear infections and pneumonia.
The Trust is participating in the University of Oxford's ARCHIE study, which is looking at whether early antibiotic treatment may prevent these 'at risk' children from becoming more unwell when they get flu. The research is funded by the National Institute of Health Research.
Dr Rosaline Garr said: "This winter, our Research Team will be running the ARCHIE Study to look at the benefits of early use of antibiotics in children with a long-term medical condition or disability, who become ill with flu like symptoms. This is an important study to help us further improve care for such a young vulnerable population."
Recent research conducted by Oxford University researchers shows that children born prematurely are around twice as likely to be admitted to hospital after developing flu or flu-like illness. The research also found that children with neurological conditions and diabetes were at greater risk of developing flu-related complications.
The research team are appealing to parents of children with underlying medical conditions to consider participating in the ARCHIE study. If you are interested or would like further information then please contact the Research Department on 0151 430 1424 or contact the Paediatric Research Nurse on 0151 4301019.
Children will have a nasal swab taken to see whether they have the influenza virus and given a five-day course of study medication. Children may also have further optional tests to look at whether using antibiotics in this way may have implications for their effectiveness in treating future infections.
Further details about the study and a list of participating hospitals and GP surgeries can be found at www.archiestudy.com