Research by Well Pharmacy found that one in four men and one in three women felt their immune system had been weakened by coronavirus.

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A leading pharmacy is urging people not to get complacent about their health and immunity after experts warn that this autumn and winter, we could see high levels of respiratory infections following low levels last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The warning comes as research* by Well Pharmacy found that one in four men and one in three women felt their immune system had been weakened by coronavirus.

With Covid-19 cases increasing and colds and chest problems beginning to rise – including reports of a ‘Supercold’ sweeping the nation – Well Pharmacy, the UK’s leading independent pharmacy chain are urging people to stay vigilant and ‘symptom aware’ this winter as colds and flu can easily develop into more serious illnesses such as pneumonia.

As winter bugs become rife, the leading pharmacy has reported sales of Cough and Cold categories increasing by 100% over the last few weeks year on year as people opt for to treat their symptoms at home with stronger medication, only available at pharmacies.

Wendy Lee, Pharmacist at Well Pharmacy, said:

“With news of a ‘Supercold’ sweeping the nation and a worrying increase in Covid-19 cases, it has never been more important for people to know the signs to look out for and to take preventative measures to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and well. In winter we spend much more times indoors, which allows viruses like flu, pneumonia and Covid to spread more easily due to low ventilation. It is never too late to think about our own immunity, especially in these cold winter months and as many of our immune systems have been compromised during lockdown.”

Cold, flu, pneumonia and Covid all have similar symptoms. Wellhave compiled a chart to help people recognise the signs, but it can often be hard to tell if a cold is something more serious as many of the symptoms overlap.






Difficulty breathing 





Shivering or sweating 



Chest pain 




Dry or phlegm producing cough 






Nasal congestion 




Loss of taste/smell




Wendy Lee added: “People shouldn’t assume that their bad cold is just that. If they aren't sure whether their illness is a cold or Covid and are presenting with main symptoms of Covid including high temperature, continuous cough, loss of taste/smell, they need to make sure they request a free PCR test from the NHS/Government website.

“People suffering from Covid may not present any symptoms. It is vital to perform regular lateral flow tests to stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. Many people do not know there are widely available and effective vaccines to protect against flu and pneumonia. These are not available on the NHS to everyone but are well worth having done privately if people are concerned or feel they may be vulnerable.”

Well is urging people to continue to be proactive and visit their local Well Pharmacy to pick up a box of seven free NHS lateral flow tests. More information about COVID-19 testing, please visit:

Well is also advising people on simple measures they can do to improve their immunity, with everyday tips including:

1.      Getting enough quality sleep – going to bed at a similar time and waking up around the same time each morning can boost immunity.

2.     Eat the rainbow – a varied and balanced diet with an array of fruit and vegetables can help support our bodies through the darker months.

3.     Staying hydrated – the weather may be colder, but people still need to ensure they keep up their fluid intake. Herbal and fruit teas are perfect for the colder days.

4.     Get some sunlight – the days may be shorter but getting some daylight each day can make all the difference to physical and mental health.

5.     Ensure vaccinations are up to date - such as flu and pneumonia vaccines.


*About the research

An online survey was conducted by WALR among 2,037 adults aged 18+ in the UK. The research fieldwork took place between 17-18 August, 2021. WALR is a member organisation of the Market Research Society and abides by all codes of practise.