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Build yourself Up for Winter

From mid to late September Sam McCauley Chemists will be offering their winter flu vaccination service.This is the seventh year offering this service, and it is free for all patients over 65 who hold a medical card or doctor visit card.

If you are over 18 years of age, a medical card holder, and have a long term chronic illness such as diabetes you are also entitled to receive the winter flu vaccine and consultation free of charge. Ask our pharmacist for details and book your appointment now. No prescription is necessary and this service is also available for private patients.

Influenza or flu is highly infectious and can affect people of all ages. Although I’m relatively young and healthy – although my children might not agree! – I have made a point of getting the vaccine at the start of the flu season every year, for the last seven years, and haven’t looked back. At least now when I’m greeting friends who are coughing or spluttering, or visiting elderly relatives, I’m not worried about catching or spreading the flu.

The vaccine consists of the inactivated seasonal flu viruses expected to affect Ireland over the coming winter and offers between 70-80 percent protection against infection. Research has shown that the flu vaccine reduces the chance of hospitalisation and serious illness. It takes 10-21 days to be protected against flu and you cannot catch flu from a flu vaccination. The flu vaccine helps your immune system produce antibodies, so that when you come into contact with the flu virus these antibodies attack the virus, and prevent you getting the flu.

If you do get a cold or a flu, then often symptoms can seem the same, however they are two very different illnesses. Generally speaking, Flu symptoms tend to be more severe and last longer. Often there is a sudden rise in body temperature, head ache and muscle pain which is not normally seen with a cold. You should always take precautions not to pass it on to anyone, by coughing and sneezing into tissues, and disposing of them quickly and regularly washing hands. A small pocket-sized hand sanitiser is useful to have and is the single most important way to reduce the spread of germs.

If you really don’t want to get the flu vaccine, then it may be worth looking at some of the vitamins and minerals that play an important role in strengthening the immune system. These won’t prevent colds or flu’s but they will ensure that your body has the best possible chance of fighting a cold or flu.

If you eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables every day you should have a balanced intake of Vitamin C but if your diet is not perfect it may be worth considering supplementing it with Vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and can help reduce the length and severity of symptoms of the common cold.

In several studies Echinacea has been found to reduce the number of colds and duration of illness. Echinacea is a traditional herbal supplement which is taken daily and has been found to boost the immune system. It is available in both tablet and liquid forms and is well worth considering as a supplement as the weather becomes colder.

Finally, as the kids go back to school and life becomes busier again, it might be worth considering taking a multivitamin. In Sam McCauley Chemists, we have an extensive range of vitamins and supplements and our pharmacists or healthcare staff are always delighted to discuss these with you and recommend the most appropriate for your needs. If you are lacking energy and have never tried Pharmaton Capsules or Berocca Boost these are both excellent for reducing tiredness and giving more energy.