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Winter Healthcare Challenges

Words supplied by by Wises Community Pharmacy

With Winter fast approaching, now is a good time to start preparing for the healthcare challenges that winter inevitably brings.  Most importantly, we wanted to highlight what you can do now to protect yourself, your family and your staff through the cold and damp of winter.

It is during Autumn and Winter that we are at our most vulnerable to the coughs, colds and flu’s that at best can make a working day extremely unpleasant and worse, can often result in people needing to take time off work in order to recover.

There is a lot you can do to improve your chances of minimising the negative effects of winter on your health.

The most important thing you can do is get the Flu vaccine. The Flu is the worst of the winter illnesses, it is far more severe then the common cold and can often result in hospitalisation.

The difference between the Flu and a common cold:


A common cold

Sudden onset of illness. Moderate to severe illness.

Mild illness.

Fever (usually high).

Mild fever.

Headache (may be severe).

Mild headache (congested sinuses).

Dry cough, may become moist.

Sometimes a cough.

Muscle aches.

Muscle aches are uncommon.


A runny nose.




Take steps to improve your immunity:

The Flu vaccine is redesigned each year to protect against the most likely strains of the Flu virus that you will be exposed to. This year it is a quadrivalent formula, meaning that it will protect against the four most likely strains of the disease, and it is the single most effective prevention available. The Flu vaccine can be administered at your GP’s surgery, usually by appointment and, also at some local pharmacies, often on a walk-in basis.

On top of this there is another vaccine available from the pharmacy that can reduce your chance of catching the common cold. Buccaline Berna is a tablet form vaccine, taken over 3 days, it is clinically proven to reduce days of illness (and days off work) during its protection period of 3 months just on its own, but, when taken in conjunction with the Flu vaccine, the combination is even more effective than either one on their own.

It is also a good idea to take steps to boost your immune system by taking things like Vitamin C, of which there is a high potency version which has anecdotally been shown to provide enhanced protection. Given the change in the temperatures outdoors it is also advisable that particularly those more vulnerable to ill health stay warm, dry, well hydrated and well rested.


In the table below we highlight just some of the steps that you can take to support your immune system, defend yourself against viruses and improve your general well-being.


Immune Support

Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea

Viral Defence

Olive Leaf, Blackcurrant, Aci Berry

General Wellbeing

Stay hydrated and well rested

Family / Workplace Hygiene

Hand Sanitizer, Face masks, Gloves


What to do if you get a cold or the Flu:

The first thing to do is make an assessment of your condition using the table above, and if in doubt consult your local healthcare provider who has been trained to help. Your local Community Pharmacy is a good place to start. It is important not to pass off the flu as simply a bad cold, given the significance of the Flu and its potential to develop into other more serious illnesses such as pneumonia.


While there is no proven cure for the common cold, there are a number of products available from your Community Pharmacy to combat its effects such as Pharmacist Only medicines that will help manage your pain or cough. It is also likely that a simple anti-histamine may help dry-up your runny nose and make breathing easier. Speak to your Pharmacist. 


If you think that you have the flu, it is important that you consult your GP who will make an assessment and a recommendation as to the best course of action. 



Protect yourself, your family & the wider community:

It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risk of infection and there are a number of practical steps that you take to ensure that risks are minimised:

-  Washing your hands; regularly for at least 20 seconds and dry them for 20 seconds – or use

 an alcohol-based hand rub. 

-  Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

-  Consider wearing a mask if infected.

-  Cough or sneeze in to your elbow if a tissue is not readily available.

-  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

-  Don’t share drinks.


For more information on flu vaccine’s or the other winter healthcare challenges, contact Wises Community Pharmacy 

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