31 Oct 2018

The Cold and Flu season is upon us

Having had one of our warmest summers for many years, the cold winter weather has arrived. With Hallowe’en this week and the Christmas season in front of us, winter brings another season - the ominous cold and flu season. These two illnesses are often confused with one another and quite often, what may seem like a common cold can quickly develop into the flu.

Whilst the symptoms of each may overlap, generally colds tend to start gradually, whilst the flu hits you very suddenly. The symptoms are more severe, you often will feel tired, achy and have a fever.

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent or reduce flu symptoms.

Get the Flu Vaccine, not the Flu

The best way to avoid getting the flu this year is by getting the Flu Vaccine. It is the safest and most effective method of defence against flu and also to prevent the serious complications associated with the virus. This is especially true of people in high risk categories such as the over 65’s, people with long term health conditions, pregnant women, farmers and front line health and social care workers.

Those with a medical card or doctors visit card may be able to avail of this service for free at Hickey’s Pharmacy – see here for more details.

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Vitamins and Minerals

Although vitamins and minerals may not cure the flu - they help build up and maintain the immune system, reducing the risk of contracting the flu virus. Vitamin C is the most well known of the immune enhancing vitamins. It can stimulate the production of white blood cells and also may increase the production of a hormone in your body which fights off viral infections. Hickey’s Pharmacy also recommends products with Vitamins A, D, E and Zinc.

Pharmaton capsules contain all these vitamins and can help bolster your immune system, warding off any cold or flu virus you may come in contact with.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a natural plant based herbal remedy which helps fight the symptoms of cold and flu. Like other vitamins and minerals it helps support the immune system to help prevent cold and flu and most studies suggest that taking echinacea during a cold or flu, can reduce the severity of and duration of your symptoms. Echinacforce is a licenced traditional herbal remedy which is available made from Echinacea Purpurea which can boost your bodies resistance

Probiotics

The benefits of probiotics for digestive health has been long established, but did you know that they may also help with cold and flu? Studies show that these good bacteria significantly reduce the risk of getting colds and flus. And for those who do get sick, these probiotics reduce the severity and duration of the illness.

Lactobacillus salivarius contained in Udos Choice Super 8’s is a probiotic which helps fight against the flu virus helping you to stay healthy this cold and flu season

Practice good health habits

Flu is extremely contagious and can spread from one person to another standing within 6 feet via droplets produced when coughing, sneezing, or talking or by touching contaminated surfaces

  1. Avoid close contact with those who are sick or other people if you are sick.
  2. Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing. Dispose of the tissue immediately after use.
  3. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  4. Clean and disinfect surfaces that people come into contact with at work, school, or home.

Stock up on medications to ease your symptoms

Whether you are experiencing symptoms or not, it is a good idea to stock up on cold and flu medications which will help ease your symptoms if you do get the flu. Paracetamol helps to reduce your temperature and Ibuprofen helps ease aches and pains. Sudafed is good for helping to decongest your nose and release the pressure associated with a head cold. There are also a number of products available to help ease a sore throat including Difflam Spray which helps ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Remember to always read the label.

For advise on treating your cold and flu symptoms, don’t hesitate to speak to your local Hickey’s Pharmacist.

Find your nearest store

Use our store locator to find your nearest Hickey’s Pharmacy. You’ll be able to find contact details, opening hours and directions.