How to protect yourself against flu this winter
Pharmacists can help keep colds at bay
Your summer holiday tan hasn't faded yet but colder weather is on the way and it's never too soon to start thinking about your winter health.
Thankfully, that doesn't mean a trip to the doctor - with guidance available from your local community pharmacist, such as at Boots, it is quick and convenient to get advice.
You don't need an appointment, you can simply pop into your local Boots pharmacy store, where you'll find a pharmacist and a team of pharmacy advisors happy to answer your questions.
As we move into winter and spend more time keeping warm indoors, most of us will catch a cough, cold or flu as germs spread.
Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers says: "Flu season tends to start in October and November so now is the time to start getting your immune system ready to fight winter bugs."
Cold and flu are caused by viruses. There are three types of flu viruses and more than 200 common cold viruses which can cause complications to those who are already vulnerable because of old age or an underlying health condition.
Free To At-Risk Groups
The best way to stay protected and prevent the spread of flu is to get the flu jab.
For those entitled to the flu jab it's urged that they consider having one, to protect themselves and others against the illness.
Your Boots pharmacist or GP can advise on whether you are entitled to have the free vaccination.
The flu jab is offered free to at-risk groups, including those over 65, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions, in most Boots pharmacies in England and Wales.
In Scotland, the flu vaccination is offered from October onwards through GPs for those aged 65 and over, are pregnant or have a serious health condition.
Are you at risk of Pneumonia?
Boots also offers a private vaccination service against pneumonia for those at higher risk.
Available in selected stores, the Pneumonia Vaccination Service helps protect against some of the most common strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia.
To find out more about the flu vaccination and Pneumonia Vaccination Service, visit www.boots.com/flujab and www.boots.com/pneumonia. Subject to availability and eligibility criteria. Eligibility may be different in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.