Cold and flu medicine ‘shortage’ fears as UK stores sell folk remedies amid surge in winter illnesses

EMPTY shelves have left the nation terrified that the new year has started with a shortage of Lemsip.

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


Lemsip, among other cold and flu remedies, is fast running out of stockCredit: Alamy

It comes as Britons are hit with ‘twindemia’ as Covid and flu unite, wreaking havoc on the NHS.

According to The Guardian, the ambulance staff were even asked to conserve oxygen.

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

That’s up from 530 a month ago, and of those hospitalized last week, 267 were in intensive care beds.

But buyers are likely to be desperate for Lemsip, as social media users have claimed they have had no luck getting hold of it for weeks.

A Boots worker told MailOnline: ‘We don’t have any Lemsip powder or own brand cold and flu sachets at all. Only Beechams. We haven’t had any for two to three weeks . I think there are supply issues.”

Brian Brolly, superintendent pharmacist at Grahame’s Pharmacy in Lisburn, told the News Letter: “The Day and Night Nurse combination capsules are sold out. ‘The ones we haven’t been able to get for quite a while.

“Of the five or six different variants of Lemsip, two are currently available. Everything else is out of stock.”

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

One person on Twitter posted a photo of a bare shelf and wrote: “I think there is a crisis in the Lemsip factory that we are not aware of?”

Another internet user informed: “I just went to stock up on paracetamol, Lemsip and Strepsils. The rays are decimated. Obviously a lot of Covid and flue everywhere.”

“Forget the fights in Aldo for the Prime drink, try to find Lemsip in my town! Is there some kind of apocalyptic human cold/flu virus going around?” A third accepted.

One woman claimed she searched eight stores for the product and came home empty-handed.

But others are less worried, one man joked: “Why isn’t anyone talking about Lemsip shortage! How am I going to handle this manflu!?”

It comes as health chiefs have told sick Britons to start wearing face masks when traveling or to stay at home.

Chief medical adviser Professor Susan Hopkins asked adults to ‘try to stay home if they feel unwell’, and those who need to ‘wear a face covering’.

She added: “It is important to minimize the spread of infection as much as possible in schools and other educational and childcare settings.”

She also urged parents to keep their children out of school if they are sick or have a high temperature.

“The 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 in young children remains low,” she continued.

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“The 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 not too late yet.”

12 signs of the flu you need to know

The NHS lists flu symptoms as follows

  • Sudden high temperature
  • sore body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or stomach pain
  • feel or be sick
  • Less active (especially children)
  • Pain in the ear (especially children)

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