Wheezing or Sneezing? Ask A Pharmacist with Jane Brennan

Jane Brennan of Life Pharmacy Donabate answers some of the most commonly asked questions about cold & flu.

Why are a cold and flu so prevalent in winter?

Flu and the common cold circulate more at this time of year especially in areas with larger groups, for example in workplaces and schools. It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine, and this is especially important if you are in an at risk category, for example, over 65, or diabetic, asthmatic or with a heart condition. In Brennan’s Life Pharmacy, we offer a walk-in flu vaccine service.

How can I boost my immune system to fight off infection?

A high strength probiotic will strengthen your immune system and boost your defences. For adults, Alflorex PrecisionBiotics is a fantastic supplement for anyone who needs to be at work every day and can’t afford to be sick.  For children, especially for those in schools and pre-schools where bugs are circulating, Alflorex prefilled straws are suitable for children aged 3 and over.  

Getting adequate sleep and exercise, good nutrition and lowering the levels of stress will help your immune system to work at its best. Eating well is important as a balanced diet promotes well-being and reduces your chances of catching a cold. If your diet is not ideal, you may need a good quality supplement. Biocare Adult Multivitamins and Minerals is an excellent all rounder. For children aged 5 to 12, our new Super Kids Multivitamin has 28 active ingredients including super greens, in a fruit juice blend.

How can I protect myself from catching an illness from someone else?

Some viruses live for several days on hard surfaces, for example phones, door handles and computer keyboards. Wipe down all these touch surfaces frequently. Choose a small hand sanitiser to keep in your pocket or your child’s school bag, and use frequently.

If I do catch a cold or flu, how can I relieve it?

We’ve all experienced the fatigue of the common cold. Make sure that you rest, stay warm and well hydrated.

Biocare Immune Intensive sachets containing High Potency Immune Support are highly effective at combating viral infections. For children over 3, BioCare Children’s Elderberry Complex includes elderberry, combined with Vitamin C and zinc in a delicious fruity liquid.

What do you suggest in terms of medication?

If you present with a cold or flu, the first thing we suggest is don’t over medicate. We will ask about your symptoms and help you choose the product that suits best. We will check that the medication is safe for you, particularly if you are on prescription medication or have a health condition.

What can I do about symptoms like a cough, stuffy nose and sore throat?

We may recommend a decongestant. Those on blood pressure medication should not take oral decongestants without medical advice. Antihistamines can relieve runny noses or sneezing that comes with a cold. Lozenges or a throat spray can relieve the pain  of a sore throat. A teaspoon of honey can also coat the back of the throat and reduce irritation, coughing and the urge to cough.

The SalinPlus Salt Therapy machine, available in store, can be used at home to relieve the symptoms of asthma, chest infections and sinusitis,leading to a more restful sleep.

If you have any questions, pop in to see us at 1 Fairways Mall, Donabate. My team and I are always available to listen and care for our customers.

We are grateful for the support of our community in Donabate and Portrane.