Q1 I get really confused with the difference between a heavy cold and a flu virus. Can you help please?
A cold usually starts gradually when you get a sore throat and stuffy or runny nose. Flu hits you more suddenly and tends to be so severe that it’s difficult to get out of bed. Flu symptoms affect most of the body and include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles and you can often get a cough and sore throat at the same time. The best treatment for a bad cold or flu is to stay at home, rest, keep warm, and drink plenty of fluids.
There is no ‘cure’ as such for colds or flu, but you can gain relief from the symptoms with remedies available from us. A painkiller such as paracetamol may help if you are feeling aching or feverish. However, do remember that many cold remedies contain paracetamol, so it may not be necessary to take any more. Also, some cold remedies should not be taken by particular people – for instance if you suffer from high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. It’s very important to always check with our pharmacist before taking any additional medicines, especially if you are on other medication. We will be happy to advise on the appropriate remedy and answer any questions you may have. And don’t hesitate to contact us if symptoms persist. 0141 637 6000
Q2 I am a 65 years ‘young’ woman and always worry with the onset of winter that I will catch yet another cold or flu. Is there any ‘alternative’ remedy I can take to help protect myself this year?
Yes there is. There are various herbal remedies and nutritional supplements available from us. Echinacea for instance helps modulate the immune system and may therefore be of benefit if taken when symptoms first appear. Vitamin and mineral supplements may also help the body fight off infection – ask us for advice on which to take.
Of course you can always ask about the annual free preventative flu jab which you are entitled to as you are considered ‘at risk’ and therefore more susceptible to the complications of flu. (‘At risk’ groups include 65+ years, those with suppressed immune systems or if you suffer from diabetes, heart, lung or kidney problems).
We also have our own flu vaccination service. Telephone us on 0141 637 6000 for more details.