'Lemsip shortage' hits as Brits struggle to find cold and flu remedies

Now there’s a Lemsip shortage! Shoppers say they can’t find cold and flu medicines on shelves amid ‘extreme demand’ due to surge in seasonal illnesses

  • Desperate Brits say they are struggling to find cold and flu remedies like Lemsip
  • It comes amid a rise in seasonal illness and surge of a new variant of Covid-19
  • Shoppers now fear there is a ‘national shortage’ of some medicinal products  

Desperate Brits are scrambling to find supplies of cold and flu medicines amid a surge of seasonal illnesses which is ‘flooring’ people this winter.  

As the rate of Covid-19 and flu cases continues to soar, pharmacies have seen a huge spike in under-the-weather people seeking out remedies.

But with illness rates skyrocketing, medicines like Lemsip, Day and Night Nurse and own-brand cold and flu treatments have been selling out, sparking fears online of a ‘national shortage’.

Pharmacies have already reported running out of several products, including sachets of Lemsip Max amid ‘extreme demand’ amid concerns the UK could soon be ravaged by a new ‘twindemic’ of Covid and flu.

Shoppers say they are struggling to find cold and flu remedies like Lemsip Max in pharmacies and shops amid an apparent shortage following a huge spike in demand over the winter

People have been rushing out to buy cold and flu remedies as a wave of seasonal illnesses hit the UK. Pictured posed by a model

At some Boots stores in London, Lemsip Max sachets are entirely sold out, with just boxes ‘day and night’ tablets left. Meanwhile, social media users have reported stocks running dry in Waitrose and Tesco shops. 

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.’ 

Pharmacists in Northern Ireland have also reported a shortage of the drug following a huge spike in demand for cold and flu cures.

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.’

On social media, scores of people have reportedly struggled to find any cold and flu remedies this winter. 

Among the stores hit by an apparent shortage of some Lemsip products was this one in west London, which only had the day and night capsules and its own brand on sale 

One woman said: ‘Genuine question. Is there a Lemsip shortage? Been to over 8 different shops since before Christmas and the shelves are totally bare.’

Another reported a shortage at the Waitrose store in Worthing, West Sussex, while a third – who spent the Christmas break battling a virus – added: ‘I have been floored with a nasty bug since Christmas Day. Started feeling better yesterday and thankfully just cold like symptoms now. There’s so much of it about. Apparently there’s been a shortage of Lemsip and paracetamol round here because of it!’

While one man made light of the shortage, tweeting: ‘Why is no one discussing the shortage of Lemsip! How am I going to deal with this manflu!?’   

The news comes as it was revealed a ‘highly infectious’ Covid strain has emerged and is already behind one in 25 cases in the UK.

The strain — dubbed XBB.1.5 — has caused alarm in the US over its quick spread and a recent rise in hospitalisations. It is behind four in ten cases in the country, up from two a week ago.

The variant, which is a version of Omicron, has mutations that help it dodge protection from vaccination and prior infections.

Experts told MailOnline the strain is a ‘wakeup call’ and could worsen NHS crisis, which has seen the health service battered by a ‘twindemic’ of Covid and flu.

A highly contagious Covid strain has emerged and is already behind one in 25 cases in the UK, data suggests

Customers — some wearing face masks — queue outside a Boots store in west London today amid fears around the ‘twindemic’ of Covid and flu

The flu-nami has swept across the NHS in England, the latest round of health service data shows, with over 3,800 admissions for the virus on December 23. Graph shows the number of beds on wards taken up by those with flu (red) and the number of beds occupied due to the virus in critical care (blue) 

However, officials sought to play down the concerns, insisted there was no indication this strain causes more severe illness than earlier variants.

Figures from the Sanger Institute, one of the UK’s largest Covid surveillance centres, show four per cent of cases in the week to December 17 were caused by XBB.1.5.

It is the first time the strain has been listed on the institute’s virus dashboard, which is updated weekly.

The strain is a mutated version of Omicron XBB, which was first detected in India in August.

XBB, which is a merger of variants BJ.1 and BA.2.75, caused cases to quadruple in just one month in some nations.

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, warned that the emergence of the strain is a ‘wakeup call’ and could exacerbate the NHS crisis.

He said: ‘The XBB.1.5 variant is highly infectious and is driving increased hospital admissions in New York, particularly among the elderly.

‘Waning immunity, more indoor mixing because of the cold weather and lack of other mitigations, such as wearing facemasks, are also contributing to this surge of infection in the US.’

It comes as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19  just before Christmas hit more than 8,600 – in one of the biggest spikes of the virus in months. 

Italy began screening all new arrivals from China for Covid after health officials found half of passengers on two flights into Milan from the nation were infected. Pictured: Milan airport on December 29

The Our World in Data graph shows the daily confirmed Covid cases in China. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped reporting daily cases, without providing a reason. It reported around 5,000 cases per day last week and a small number of deaths. However, some estimates suggest China is actually experiencing one million cases per day and 5,000 deaths

Elsewhere, and China is in the midst of a massive resurgence of Covid-19, as the virus runs rampant across cities and towns. 

Experts believe at least 18 million Chinese have been infected in the last month alone, with 100,000 deaths. 

In a drastic move, Rishi Sunak announced on Friday that all travellers from China will require a negative Covid test before flying to the UK.

The PM in intervened following high-level meetings with ministers and No 10 officials – only a day after health chiefs decided against checks.

Mr Sunak believes pre-departure tests are now necessary because of a lack of trust in Chinese infection data and vaccine protection.

Downing Street sources insisted the ‘precautionary and temporary’ measure would improve surveillance of the disease sweeping through China’s 1.4 billion population after the authorities abruptly ended their ‘zero-Covid’ regime.

But health officials, who have shut down testing sites, have reported only a few thousand cases. Fears are growing that China’s surge could produce an aggressive new variant of Covid-19. Britain’s move aligns it with countries now demanding travellers from China take Covid tests.

France announced it would require passengers to show negative tests less than 48 hours old with their boarding passes, and would carry out random tests on landing.

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