No indicators as to how bad cold and flu strains will be: pharmacists

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Steven Saunders of Deer Lake picks out a cold remedy, getting ready for cold and flu season. — Star photo by Paul Hutchings

DEER LAKE  After last year’s cold and flu season was called the worst on record by some local pharmacists, most people would love to know how this year may be.

But unfortunately there is no way to tell, say the experts, and pharmacists say only prevention will keep those germs away.

So far this year drug stores in the Corner Brook area are seeing mainly chest infections with coughs, which shouldn’t be confused with a cold. But pharmacist Christine Tulk at Shoppers Drug Mart said they are noticing more cold sufferers lately.

“So far it’s been quiet but it does seem to be picking up in the last couple of weeks,” she said. “People are coming in, telling us they have cough, stuffy nose, they’re tired, and they’re looking for some kind of remedy, so I think (cold and flu season) is starting right now.”

She said they usually see a spike in September when kids go back to school. Then at the beginning of Christmas the number of sick people will spike again, and then once more during mid-winter.

Pharmacist Heather Tulk of the Bonne Bay Pharma Choice in Norris Arm said respiratory infections take place all year long, and figuring out how a cold season may pan out is difficult. There are drugs that claim to help ward off cold symptoms, and there is evidence that supports their viability, but she said not everyone can take them and a doctor or pharmacist should be consulted first.

“We really can’t tell; all you can do is prepare,” she said. “People need to be washing their hands all the time and make sure surfaces are clean.”

It was reported last month that some brands of medication may not be available in all areas because of a production slowdown at an American pharmaceutical plant. Some types of Buckley’s may not be on the shelves, and Neo Citron could be hard to find. But Christine Tulk said there are choices.

“I don’t see us being affected too much,” she said. “We’re fortunate that we have so much to choose from in the way of cold medications anyway. There will be others. It’s sometimes comes down to brand preference. People may just have to choose something else.”

All the usual warnings are being issued from various health sources across the country, concerning hand washing, covering up when sneezing. Doctors also advise keeping household items such as television remotes and telephones sterilized.

Organizations: Shoppers Drug Mart, Bonne Bay Pharma Choice

Geographic location: DEER LAKE, Corner Brook, Norris Arm

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