Pharmacists Give Tips for Fighting Colds and Flu

19th December, 2013


  • With Christmas fast approaching, pharmacists encourage people to take the necessary steps to avoid a cold or flu.
  • Ask your pharmacist first for advice on the best course of action.


IPU, Thursday 19 December 2013

With the cold and flu season under way and with Christmas just around the corner, pharmacists are encouraging people to take the necessary steps to prevent getting a cold or the flu, particularly over the festive season. The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) is outlining a number of tips to assist the public and is encouraging individuals to get the flu vaccination, if they have not already done so.


Rory O’Donnell, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), and pharmacist says, “Colds and flu have very similar symptoms such as stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and fever, which can make people feel miserable. A cold builds up gradually while the flu attacks the body suddenly and lasts much longer than a cold. In some cases the flu may lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. 


“Anyone who is feeling unwell should ask their pharmacist first for advice on the best course of action for their symptoms. We are issuing the following tips for people to help them fight colds and flu in the run up to the festive season.


  1. Get the Flu Vaccine – Get the flu vaccination from your local pharmacist.  This prevents getting the flu which has severe symptoms and can last up to two weeks.
  2. Wash your Hands – Wash your hands regularly to eliminate the spread of germs and keep your family safe. Use warm water and soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse well and dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water – Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.  Water keeps your digestive system working well, and flushes the system.
  4. Keep a Healthy Lifestyle – Getting adequate sleep, good nutrition and physical exercise can help ensure your immune system is in good condition and ready to fight infection if it occurs.
  5. Control Stress People experiencing stress tend to have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold. Try and keep calm, factor in relaxation time and do not let the Christmas preparations get on top of you.
  6. 6.                  Limit exposure to infected people – If possible, avoid contact with people who you know to have a cold or flu.
  7. 7.                  Know your Medicine Options – Ask your pharmacist about the best medicines to take if you do experience symptoms. For example,
    1. a.      A nasal decongestant can help unclog a stuffy nose.
    2. b.      Cough suppressants help coughs.
    3. c.       Expectorants loosen mucus.
    4. d.      Antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing.
    5. Pain relievers can ease fever, headaches and minor aches.


“It is important not to self-medicate. It is best to get healthcare advice from your pharmacist as many different cold and flu preparations and painkillers contain paracetamol. Never take more than one paracetamol-based preparation at a time as this could lead to liver damage. It is also important to inform your pharmacist of any other medicines you may be taking to ensure that the most appropriate medicine is recommended for you,” concluded Mr O ‘Donnell.


Further information: Jim Curran, Director of Communications & Strategy, IPU, Ph: 086 264 0469.



Aoibheann Ní Shúilleabháin

Marketing & Events Executive

IRISH PHARMACY UNION Butterfield House, Butterfield Ave.  Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.