Cold and flu medicine ‘shortage’ fears as shops across UK sell out of popular remedies amid soaring winter illness

EMPTY shelves have left the nation terrified that the New Year has kicked off with a Lemsip shortage.

Boots and pharmacies across the nation are running out of the cold and flu treatment while struggling to restock.

Lemsip, among other cold and flu remedies, is rapidly going out of stockCredit: Alamy

This comes as Brits are being hit by a ‘twindemic‘ as Covid and flu unite, wreaking havoc on the NHS.

According to The Guardian, ambulance staff have even been reportedly urged to conserve oxygen.

In recent weeks there were 3,746 patients a day in hospital with the flu, figures show.

This is up from 530 a month ago, and of those in hospital last week 267 were occupying critical care beds.

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But shoppers are likely to be left desperate for Lemsip as people on social media have claimed they’ve had no luck in sourcing it for weeks.

One Boots worker told MailOnline: “We don’t have any Lemsip powder or our own brand cold and flu sachets at all. Only Beechams. We’ve not had any for two to three weeks. I believe there are supply problems.”

Brian Brolly, Superintendent Pharmacist at Grahame’s Pharmacy in Lisburn told the News Letter: “The combination pack Day and Night Nurse capsules have sold out. ‘Those we have not been able to get for quite a while.

“Out of the five or six different variations of Lemsip on two are currently available. Everything else has been out of stock.”

He added: “Everything is more extreme this year in terms of medication – both over the counter and behind the counter from the dispensary too. It has been a challenge at times to be honest.”

One person on Twitter posted a picture of a bare shelf and wrote: “I am thinking that there is a crisis in the Lemsip factory we don’t know about?”

Another informed users: “Just went to stock up on paracetamol, Lemsip and Strepsils. The shelves are decimated. Obviously a lot of Covid and flue around.”

“Forget fighting in Aldo for Prime drink, try finding Lemsip in my town! Is there some sort of apocalyptic cold virus/man flu going around?” A third agreed.

One woman claimed she had searched eight shops for the product and come home empty handed.

But others are less concerned, one man joked: “Why is no one discussing the shortage of Lemsip! How am I going to deal with this manflu!?'”

This comes as health chiefs have told sick Brits to start wearing face masks while out and about or to stay at home.

Chief medical advisor Professor Susan Hopkins has asked adults to “try to stay home when unwell”, and those who have to should “wear a face covering”.

She added: “It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings as much as possible.”

She has also urged parents to keep their kids out of school if they are ill or have a high temperature.

“Flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus,” she added.

“We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low,” she continued.

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“Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness. 

“Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.”

the 12 signs of flu you need to know

The NHS list the symptoms for flu as follows

  • Sudden high temperature
  • Aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Less active (specifically children)
  • Pain in the ear (specifically children)


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