Irwins Pharmacy Latest News & Advice

Cervical Cancer Awareness – preventing cervical cancer with smear tests and the HPV vaccine

It’s the Pearl Of Wisdom Campaign 2018 in Ireland from Sunday 28th January to Saturday 3rd February, to promote European Cervical Cancer Awareness Week.

The Irish Cancer Society reports that there are around 300 women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year nationally in Ireland. Cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer in Europe.

As part of this year’s campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer prevention, Cervical Check, the National Cervical Screening Programme, are encouraging girls and women across the country to take advantage of the free services available to protect them. Women are encouraged to stay up to date with their cervical screening (smear tests) and girls should have the HPV vaccine when it’s offered to them.

You can check when your next free cervical screening is due, by visiting CervicalCheck, or calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.


Causes of cervical cancer

The HPV virus causes most cervical cancers. The virus is very common and is passed during sex. The Irish Cancer Society advises that most women will contract the HPV virus infection at some point during their lifetime and the infection usually clears itself without causing any real harm.

Ongoing HPV virus infections can cause abnormal changes to the lining of the cervix. If left untreated, the changes in the cervix can lead to cervical cancer.


Preventing cervical cancer

Regular cervical screening (smear tests) and the HPV vaccine are the most effective way to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.


Why it’s important for girls to get the HPV vaccine

Cervical cancer is now largely preventable as there is a vaccine which protects against the HPV virus which causes most cervical cancers. The HPV vaccine protects women against many HPV types. The vaccine is licensed for girls and women aged 9 to 26. Girls should take up the HPV vaccine when it is offered to them.


Why regular smear tests are important for women

Regular smear tests can decrease your risk of getting cervical cancer by detecting warning signs early.

Changes to cervical cells are common. However, abnormal changes which are not detected and monitored early can increase your risk of getting cervical cancer. Detecting changes to cervical cells earlier enables them to be monitored and treated more easily. Early detection can help to prevent cervical cancer.

The smear test, also known as a ‘pap’ test, is a test to check for changes in cervical cells, which are found at the neck and womb.

Click here to find out more about how to have your smear test.


Get a free smear test in Cork

Cervical Check, the National Cervical Screening Programme, provides free cervical screening (smear tests) to women aged 25 to 60.

There are over 180 local GP practices here in Cork where you can get your free smear test.

Click to find your nearest GP practice in Cork to have a smear test.

Eligible women should receive an invitation by post, from Cervical Check, if they have never had a free smear test. If you have previously had a test, you should receive a letter advising when your next test is due.

The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign 2018 reminds women to check when their next free cervical screening is due, by visiting, or calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

Contact us here at Irwins Pharmacy group, or get in touch with your local GP, to find out more about getting the HPV vaccine for girls and cervical screening for women in Cork.

Tips To Avoid Catching Flu In Cork This Winter 2018

As we move into the New Year 2018, the country is bracing itself for what the Irish Mirror describes as the ‘worst flu season in 50 years’. The Evening Echo also reports that visiting restrictions are in place at Cork University Hospital due to the number of patients arriving with symptoms of flu.  With experts warning that Ireland could be facing the worst flu outbreak since 1964 with the arrival of ‘Ausie flu’, we thought it would be useful to advise on steps you can take to treat and protect yourself from catching the flu this winter.


Treating Flu

Anyone showing flu like symptoms is advised to phone their GP in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at CUH.

The HSE are also warning people to take precautions to prevent the spread of flu over the coming days and weeks.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “The advice from doctors is that most people who get the flu, unless they are in at risk group, can get better themselves at home.

The HSE advises that anyone who gets flu should:

  • Stay at home
  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol to ease symptoms.


Flu Vaccinations

Director of the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dr Kevin Kelleher, has advised via the that it’s not too late for people to get a vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist. The HSE is also advising that vulnerable groups in particular should get a vaccine.

High-risk groups designated by the HSE who should get a vaccine are:

  • People aged 65 years or over
  • Anyone with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-up, such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and diabetes. This includes children with chronic illness
  • Anyone with lower immunity due to disease or treatment and all cancer patients
  • All pregnant women. The flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy
  • Those with morbid obesity – with Body Mass Index over 40
  • Residents of nursing homes, old people’s homes and other long stay facilities
  • Health care workers and carer’s of people in risk groups

People in ‘at risk’ groups can get the flu vaccine itself free of charge (people without medical or GP visit cards may be charged an administration fee).

Contact us or visit one of our Shandon St pharmacy, Togher pharmacy or Mayfield pharmacy stores for more advice on the best treatments and vaccine advice for you.

Flu Symptoms

The symptoms of most strains of flu are similar, including the ‘Aussie flu’, H3N2, which is prevalent this winter 2018. However, some strains can be more severe and contagious than others. The symptoms of flu can be similar to cold but are usually more severe.

Symptoms can include:

  • Sudden fever
  • Aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Dry chesty cough
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping

Flu tends to come on in a few hours and can lead to more serious conditions including pneumonia.

Contact us at Irwin’s Pharmacy Cork for advice about treatments and vaccines for flu this winter.


Important Vaccinations For Children In Cork

The HSE and local healthcare professionals in Cork have urged parents to ensure that their children have had a measles vaccine, after two confirmed cases of measles in Dublin and suspected cases in Cork at the end of October.

Recently, local Blackpool GP and Fianna Fáil Councillor, Dr John Sheehan, was just one of the local healthcare professionals to remind us how important vaccinations are for our children, to help protect them against potentially fatal diseases.

We thought that it would be helpful to inform parents about why being fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is so important.

Why Measles Vaccinations Are Vital

You should have recently received an information letter about measles vaccinations from the national school your child attends. The Director of Public Health, Dr Deirdre Mulholland, recently said in the media, “measles can be a serious illness and is highly contagious. The best protection is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine”.

Measles is spread easily. It usually takes two to three weeks for a rash to develop from the time of exposure. People carrying the disease can become infectious from four days before a rash, until four days after the rash.

Those who have not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine are most at risk. Particularly at risk are babies under one year old, who are too young to be vaccinated, and children with weakened immune symptoms.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • High fever
  • Red rash, starting on the head and spreading to the rest of the body
  • Diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain

If you or your children show any signs of the symptoms of measles, you should stay at home, not go to school or work and phone a GP immediately.

For more information about measles, read the measles factsheets produced by the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Diseases Vaccinations Prevent

Measles is just one of the diseases that the Primary Immunisation programme in Ireland is designed to prevent. The HSE programmes deliver vaccines for you and your family, which in addition to protecting individuals, also protect others in the community by reducing the spread of disease.

The HSE state on their website that side effects from vaccines are very rare.

The Primary Immunisation programme in Ireland provides a vaccine for the following potentially fatal diseases:

Diphtheria – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person or carrier. Symptoms and effects are a sore throat and severe breathing difficulties.

Haemophilius Influenzae B (Hib) – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain), epiglottis (swelling in the throat that causes choking), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and osteomyelitis (bone infection).

Hepatitis B – contagious virus that is spread by contact with bodily fluids or the blood of an infected person. Causes liver disease. Children have a higher risk of having the disease for life.

Measles – highly contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes fever, a cough and a rash.

Meningococcal C (MenC) – contagious bacteria spread by saliva or close contact with an infected person or carrier. Causes meningitis or septicaemia, or both.

Mumps – contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes swollen neck glands and fever.

Pertussis (Whopping Cough) – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes a severe cough and vomiting. Can last up to three months.

Pneumococcal disease – contagious bacteria spread by close contact with an infected person or carrier. Causes invasive disease such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.

Polio – a contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person or their faeces (poo). Polio causes fever, headaches and vomiting. It can progress to paralysis.

Rubella (German Measles) – a contagious virus spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes a rash, fever and swollen glands. It can also lead to birth defects if a mother contracts rubella in early pregnancy.

Tetanus – bacteria from soil which release a toxin. Causes painful muscle spasms, convulsions and lockjaw.

Tuberculosis (TB) – contagious bacteria infecting the lungs and spread by close contact with an infected person. Causes sweating, coughing, weight loss and tiredness. TB can infect the brain or other body parts but that type of TB is not contagious.

See the HSE website for more details on the diseases vaccines prevent, as listed above.

What To Do Next

If you are concerned that you or your family haven’t been fully vaccinated, or want to find out more about the vaccinations available, you should contact your GP. If your child has missed a vaccination at school, it’s not too late and the vaccines will still work if your child has them.

We would also be happy to help you with further advice. Pop into your local Irwin’s pharmacy in Cork, or give us a call on the numbers at the top of this page, we’d be happy to provide advice on what to do next.


Find Out More About Vaccinations In Cork And Ireland

HSE – Primary Immunisation schedule

Stop the spread of measles article in The Cork, online newspaper

HPSC measles factsheets

HSE – vaccines for you and your family

Pregnancy Testing & Sexual Health Services In Cork

Your sexual health is important, just as other aspects of your health are. In addition to ensuring that you are clear of infections and disease, sexual health also covers mental well-being and can help you to enjoy fulfilling relationships.

Rising levels of sexually transmitted infections across the country is a major concern for healthcare professionals, social services, the government and the public alike. On top of the initial physical discomfort and the impact on mental health, STI’s can lead to long-term health issues including infertility, ectopic pregnancies and genital cancers. If you are concerned about any aspect of your sexual health, including STI’s, pregnancy testing and support, contraception and relationship issues, there are a range of services in Cork which can help.

In recent years there has been a big drive and lots of investment to improve access to sexual health support services, both nationally and in Cork. Support services are delivered through the healthcare system and local community services. Sexual health clinics are committed to providing confidential and non-judgemental help which is provided by fully trained staff. Sexual health services in Cork include:


STI Testing

STI screening services provide a completely confidential service, where you won’t be judged.


Who should have an STI screening?

It’s advised that everyone who is sexually active and has not had a check-up before should take STI screening. It’s particularly important that people who have any symptoms or concerns should be tested as soon as possible. You should also plan to have a check-up every 12 months.

There are several STI screening services available in Cork, including:


Pregnancy Testing & Support

Unplanned pregnancies are a reality that can be experienced by any woman. The Sexual Health Centre in Cork provide services and support delivered by fully trained staff. Their staff are fully trained and understand this may be a worrying time for you and they are committed to doing everything they can to put you at ease in a calm and friendly environment.


Pregnancy Testing In Cork

If your period is late or you think you may be pregnant, the Sexual Health Centre are there to help by offering a free and confidential pregnancy testing service. You can drop in to the centre, on Peters Street in Cork anytime between 9-5 Monday through to Friday without an appointment.


Pregnancy Counselling

An unplanned pregnancy can leave you feeling distressed and isolated. The Unplanned Pregnancy Counsellors at the Sexual Health Centre provide a non-judgemental, professional and non-directive service to women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. Their trained staff respectfully assist women to explore all their options.

Call The Sexual Health Centre on 021 427 6676, or email them at to find out more about their pregnancy services.


Support For Young People At The Youth Health Service In Cork

Cork’s Youth Health Service is the only one of its kind in Ireland. Known as the YHS, it’s an STI/GUM clinic and a sexual health centre providing quality free sexual health services, located in Penrose House, on Penrose Quay, in Cork City.

Following two research projects, conducted in Cork in 2003/2004, young people asked for a local health service that was confidential, free, with welcoming, non-judgemental staff, easily accessible, relaxed and free from peer and parental disapproval. The YHS was setup to fulfil these needs.

Sexual health supports and services available for young people at YHS include general advice and support in relation to sexual health, STI screening, a contraceptive clinic, youth work and drug and alcohol support and counselling.

Email the team at YHS on or call 076 1084150 to find out more about their supports and services.

Health Screening Services In Cork – Helping To Keep Cork A ‘Healthy City’

As the Cork Independent recently reported that Cork is leading the way as a World Health Organisation designated Healthy City, we thought that it is the perfect time to take a look at the free medical and health screening services available in Cork. As the Independent reports, since being designated a WHO Healthy City in 2012, the council has been focusing a range of initiatives to promote health and well-being in our city, including:

A central aim of both national and local government is to encourage people to take regular health screening tests, to identify health issues early. Many health issues are preventable or treated more easily and successfully with early diagnosis and monitoring. There are a range of free health screening services in Cork, which we’ve rounded up here.


Free Cancer Screening Services In Cork

Cervical Check

CervicalCheck is a national initiative that provides free smear tests for women aged 25 to 60. Cervical screening is a test to check for changes in cervical cells. These cells are found at the neck and womb. Changes in cervical cells are common and screening helps to identify cell changes early, so they can be monitored and treated. The earlier changes are detected, the easier it is to treat.

Detecting cell changes in the cervix early can help to prevent cervical cancer.

Click here to find your nearest GP practice or clinic in Cork to have a Cervical Check test.


Breast Check

BreastCheck provides free mammograms to eligible women around the country, and at various locations here in Cork. The service provides a free breast check every two years. Click here for Breast Check screening locations in Cork


Bowel Screening

The BowelScreen programme offers free bowel testing to men and women aged 60 to 69. Bowel screening is used to detect cancer in people who are not showing any symptoms.

Bowel screening helps to detect bowel cancer earlier, when there is a much better chance of successful treatment. Bowel screening also helps to identify other changes in the bowel such as polyps, which are small growths that are not usually cancerous. If polyps are not removed they can turn cancerous over time, however polyps can usually be removed easily if they are found.


Mole Checks & Mole Mapping Clinic

Mole mapping clinics held periodically at Cork University Hospital offer a complete skin check and mole mapping examination to identify cancerous moles. The mole screening for melanoma skin cancer and computerised mole mapping can help identify melanoma early, thus improving survival rates.

Free clinics have been offered periodically as part of wider health initiatives. Book a consultation at Irwin’s pharmacy Cork, if you’d like to discuss your skin or find out more about services available at this time.


Mobile Blood Pressure Tests

Get your blood pressure checked for free at various locations near you in County Cork and Cork City. Research shows that 40% of strokes could be prevented through better control of blood pressure. Take the first step and get your blood pressure checked for free at an Irish Heart mobile unit near you. Click here for upcoming mobile blood pressure checks near you in Cork.


To find out more about health screening and services here in Cork, or to talk to us about any aspect of your health, book a consultation with us here at Irwin’s Pharmacy.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support In Cork

As the Evening Echo features a young woman from Ballincollig, Sarah McCoy, who has made a documentary to show the positive side of Alzheimer’s, we thought it a good time to take a look at Alzheimer’s and Dementia support in Cork.

What Is Dementia?

The Alzheimer’s Association describes dementia as a ‘general term for a decline in metal ability severe enough to interfere with daily life’.

Rather than being a specific disease, dementia is an overall term to describe a wide range of symptoms which are associated with a decline in memory and other thinking skills. The two most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s, which accounts for up-to 80% of cases, and vascular dementia occurring after a stroke. However, there are many other conditions that can cause dementia symptoms, some of which are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Symptoms Of Dementia

Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly but in general early signs and symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Communication and language
  • Inability to pay attention and focus
  • Reasoning and judgement
  • Visual perception

If you’re concerned that a loved may be showing any of the symptoms above, it’s really important to make an appointment for them to see your GP as soon as possible. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland have also produced a factsheet on the early symptoms and diagnosis of dementia.

There are a range of organisations ready to provide support, both here in Cork and nationally, if your loved one has just been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer National Helpline on 1800 341 341 is a helpful first port of call, as they can talk to you in confidence about the process of diagnosing and living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s And Dementia Support In Cork

Staying active and social is recognised as one of the most effective ways to treat dementia and improve the quality of life of sufferers. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASI) run a 7 day care centres across County Cork in Bessboro, Midleton, Mallow, Conna, Bandon, Mitchelstown and Skibbereen. Click here for details of the ASI day care centres in county Cork.

The ASI day care centres offer respite for carers and company for users and are social clubs which are designed for people to meet each other and offer peer support.

St Finbarr’s Hospital Alzheimer Cafe in Cork is also a social club that provides a safe and relaxed place where people with dementia, their families and health and social care professionals can meet to talk, share and learn.

The ASI run 3 support groups for families affected by dementia in Cork. ASI family support groups provide the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to share stories, access information and practical advice in a relaxed, understanding and supportive environment. Find out more about the ASI Family Support Groups in Cork.

The ASI are also one of the first ports of call to get personal advice on what specialist support is available for you in the area. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland case management services support people affected by dementia, who would benefit from having someone work with them to access services and support in Cork. In Cork, the service is open to people from both Cork City and county. For further information, contact the Cork case management service on 021 497 2504.

Bluebird in-home dementia care are a nationwide care organisation that provide ‘in their own home’ care services for Alzheimer and dementia sufferers in county Cork. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland also provide home care delivered from care centres in Bessboro, Mallow and Skibereen.

What’s On In Cork That’s Good For Mental Health And Wellbeing

As the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly launched Connecting for Life Cork on Wednesday 26th July 2017, we thought it would be useful to look at what’s happening in Cork this summer that can be good for mental health and wellbeing.

The launch of Connecting For Life Cork took place at Millennium Hall, Cork City Hall. The event was attended by a large number of those involved in the drafting of the plan, including Cork community and voluntary groups and members of the public from across the local area. A total of 356 people took part in public meetings, with 700 comments and suggestions recorded. Online surveys were conducted and separate youth consultations also took place at City Hall. The results of this extensive feedback were formed into a 72 point action plan for Cork, work has already started on some of these actions.

The vision of the four year plan, which runs from 2017 to 2020, is a County Cork where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

If you are worried about your mental health, or the wellbeing of someone else, it’s important to talk to someone or look for support. Exploring the small things you can do, that are good for mental health and wellbeing, can really help:

Healthy Eating

Good food is fundamental to make sure your mind and body are working properly. More and more studies are showing that what you eat can make a big difference to your mental health. Familiarising yourself with the Irish Food Pyramid can help when it comes to planning healthy meals. Of course, good food also tastes great and can be great fun to boot. If you feel like you need some help to learn how to cook healthier meals at home, there are a number of cooking classes for adults in Cork.

We’re lucky in Cork to enjoy a rich culinary culture and an active calendar of food events. This summer checkout Bia Sasta food events in Cork and the upcoming A Taste Of West Cork Food Festival which runs from the 8th to the 17th of September this year. If you’re looking to eat out, we enjoy a wealth of healthy eating restaurants in Cork.

To learn more or get involved in community initiatives to promote and prioritise a healthy food system in the area, see the Cork Food Policy Council website.

Stay Social

Social contact and being actively involved in the local community can make all the difference to your mental health. Although it can take courage to get out and meet people if you’re suffering mental health issues, it can make a very real difference to how you feel. If the cost is a big concern, there are many free events available in Cork.

Promoting events and activities in Cork is a key action plan point in the Connecting For Life plan. From Heritage Week from the 19th to 27th of August, to Cork City Libraries events to Summer In The Park events run by the City Council, there are loads of great family and adult activity events in Cork this summer. Many events running in Cork are free of charge too.

Take Time Out

Taking time out to relax allows you to give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. We all need to relax, to give our mind and body time to recover from the stresses of life. The Wellness Workshop is an online app that shares practical tools to help maintain wellness when we’re feeling good and improve wellness during difficult times.

There are always lots of events and activities taking place in the area which provide the opportunity to take time out and enjoy a relaxing activity.

The UCC Walking Tour is an hour long historical and cultural tour taking in historical sites and the story of George Bool, the UCC’s first professor of maths and inventor of Boolean logic. Cork Nature Network promote nature conservation by offering public events, many of which are free. The Cork Heritage Open Day sees Cork’s most fascinating buildings open their doors, free of charge, for this special event.

Talk To Someone

There are a range of organisations nationally, and in Cork, providing support via the phone, internet or text message.

Have you been affected by suicide, self-harm, or just need to talk?

Support is available for you now in Cork:

Anyone in crisis can get support through their GP.

Round-the-clock psychiatric care is available at the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital, where care is provided out-of-hours by on-call psychiatrists.

  • Contact your local GP.
  • Go to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital
  • Contact emergency services by calling 999 or 112
  • Call the Samaritans, the FREE 24-hour listening service, Call 116 123
  • Call Pieta House, a FREE 24-hour crisis line at 1800 247 247
  • Call Childline, 24-hour service at 1800 66 66 66

For further information and a list of other supports, you can access:

Local Support Branches In Cork

Cork Samaritans

Phone: 116 123



Web chat

Phone: 1800 66 66 66

Text Talk to 50101

Pieta House Cork

Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road


Phone: 021-4341400

Contact Person: Sophie O’Callaghan

Healthy And Happy Summer Holiday Tips For Our Young People In Cork

As the long summer holidays begin, we thought it would be helpful to come up with some ideas and tips to help ensure that your kids and adolescents enjoy a happy and healthy summer holiday in 2017.


Keeping Our Young People Happy And Healthy In Cork This Summer

May 2017 has been a busy month in Cork for initiatives to raise awareness of mental health issues in our teens and young people.

Munster rugby star Simon Zebo is swapping drop goals for dropping beats by giving his backing to a rap track by Cork teenagers to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst teens. The music track is an initiative by the Mayfield Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force Project and is motivated by the group’s concerns about the rates of teenage bullying, anxiety, depression and suicide. You can read more about the Reach Out Speak Out music track by Cork teenagers on the Irish Examiner website.

May also saw the Scartleigh National School in Saleen hold a very successful wellbeing week which included a series of activities for pupils, both physical and psychological. The activities involved building healthy habits and skills amongst our young people to help themselves stay healthy and happy. Activities included mindfulness exercises, reading whilst out in the sun on Monday morning, participation in basketball, yoga and dance classes, swimming for PE, reduced written homework and SPHE activities.


Top Tips For Healthy School Holidays This Summer In Cork

Summer Holiday Healthy Eating

If you’re looking after children or young people this summer holidays you’ve probably given a thought to how you’re going to fill the time, but it’s also important to spare a thought for what you’re going to eat. Summer holidays invariably brings routine changes, and healthy eating and regular activities can easily fall by the wayside.

It’s important to try to think ahead about what you’re going to eat during the holidays as many studies have shown that a healthy diet in childhood is critically important. Studies have shown that a healthy diet in our youth is a foundation for good physical and mental health in adulthood. There’s an excellent article on the British Heart Foundation website with 8 tips for healthy school holiday eating.


Family Fun Activities In Cork This Summer

Keeping busy and active is vital for young people at any time of year and is especially important during the long summer holidays. Fortunately, there’s loads going on for young people and families this summer in Cork. Click here for a list of some of the best summer camps in Cork for younger kids and teens in Cork in summer 2017. For family activities to enjoy with your kids this summer see this guide to family fun things to do in Cork this summer.


Activity Tips To Get Active With Your Kids

Physical activity helps kids and adolescents grow strong bones, maintain a healthy weight and discover the world around them. Best of all, staying active is fun and proven to help you stay happy and healthy at any age. Some suggestions to make exercise fun for all the family this summer in Cork include:

  • Walking and cycling. There are lots of cycling routes and cycling events in Cork to enjoy this summer.
  • Build a den with your kids. Under supervision, you could even encourage your kids to climb a tree or two.
  • Rollerskating. rollerblading or skateboarding, indoors or outside. Kids also love to get on their scooters.
  • Do an activity or challenge for a charity. Find out about charity events in Cork.
  • Take the dog for a walk together. If you don’t have your own dog to walk, you can always borrow a friend’s dog or a neighbours.
  • Find time every weekend do something active with your kids. Why not play Frisbee or football in the park, go trampolining or try indoor rock climbing.
  • Enjoy a day at the beach. Why not head down to Garrylucas or Garryvoe for the day.
  • The National Parks in Ireland website has lists of events including children’s fun days or guided walks which are great ideas for active days out for this summer

Tips To Manage Hay Fever In Cork This Summer

Hay Fever In Cork – Top Tips To Combat Hay Fever This Summer

Manage hay fever in Cork this summer with our top tips and treatments. Hay fever – or seasonal allergic rhinitis – is a common ailment afflicting many people. Each spring and summer, one in five people in Ireland is affected by hay fever.


Hay Fever Season In Cork

In Cork, hay fever often kicks in during April and lasts until August, peaking in the last fortnight of June. Some experts argue that it appears as early as mid-March. The main culprit is grass pollen, especially Timothy grass.

The warmer weather in South West Cork means that the grass pollen season tends to start here in mid-May, earlier than the rest of Ireland. In Dublin and the midlands, the high season usually begins at the start of June. In North West Donegal the high season starts up to a fortnight later.

Click here for Cork’s pollen forecast for today and this week


Hay Fever Symptoms And Causes

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to airborne particles, such as pollen or fungal spores. Hay fever is most commonly triggered by grass or tree pollen. When the allergen is inhaled, the immune system produces a histamine response resulting in some unfavourable physical symptoms which include:

  • Runny nose,
  • Sneezing,
  • Itchy and watery eyes,
  • Fatigue,
  • Coughs and sinus congestion.

Hay fever is caused when your body defends itself against allergens by producing antibodies. The antibodies bind to mast cells, a process which leads the body to releases a chemical called histamine.


Nutritional Tips To Combat Hay Fever

Following these nutritional tips can help to strengthen your immune system and reduce your hay fever symptoms:

  • Drinking green tea and eating apples. Green tea and apples contain plant sterols, which are known to regulate the immune system and help to stabilise histamine reactions.
  • Eating two portions of omega 3-rich fish weekly. A diet rich in omega 3 will be less prone to inflammation. Wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring are great sources of omega 3. Almonds, flax and chia seeds are also good sources, however you would need to eat them in larger amounts.
  • Boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps to keep the immune system balanced and also has anti-inflammatory properties. If you aren’t getting some time in the sun, you might want to consider a good supplement.
  • Eat foods that are rich in flavonoids and an amino acid called methionine. Sources rich in flavonoids and methionine include nuts, berries, and fish. When it comes to flavonoids, it is generally true that the darker the berry is, the more it contains. Not only are these foods great to eat, the flavonoids and methionine have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can help counteract the allergic reaction that brings on your hay fever symptoms.


Daily Living Tips To Manage Hay Fever

Other daily living tips which can help you deal with hay fever include:

  • Avoid lush grassland areas
  • Keep windows closed during late morning and mid-afternoon, the peak times for pollen levels
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses to prevent pollen from affecting your eyes
  • Avoid smoking and smokers
  • Try to get someone else to help with mowing the lawn and gardening, or at least make sure you’re wearing a face mask if you need to mow it yourself
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed while sleeping
  • Used tea bags chilled in the fridge make for the perfect smoothing compress for watery or itchy eyes
  • Keep an antihistamine medication on-hand for sudden allergy attacks


Methionine Supplements for Hay Fever

If the natural methionine sources aren’t doing the trick alone, methionine supplements up to 500mg per day may help. Another supplement that may interest you is quercetin. Quercetin helps to work as a natural anti-inflammatory.


Menthol inhalers such as Siang Pure

These small plastic tubes contain a mix of menthol, eucalyptus oil, camphor, and borneol. This combination of ingredients helps to clear away mucus, thus reducing the chances of repeat sneezing. These inhalers are also sometimes helpful in treating motion sickness, vertigo, and dizzy spells.


Fixes From Your GP

When all else fails and you need an emergency short-term fix, your GP can prescribe oral steroids. Repeated or prolonged courses of oral steroids are harmful but they will get you through that vital client meeting or your baby’s christening.


Cork Pollen Forecasts

Click here for Cork’s pollen forecast for today and this week

For the latest pollen forecasts across Ireland visit – Met Eireann Pollen Forecast For Ireland

Get Involved in Cork and Cultivate your Wellbeing in Older Age

Get involved and stay social, that’s the overriding message from a new Age UK charity study into the wellbeing and health of older people. The clear message, the report says “is the importance of maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life – whether this is through social, creative or physical activity, work or belonging to some form of community group”.

The overarching message from the study is that, as human beings, we are social by nature. Maintaining vibrant and healthy social lives is so important at all ages. We wanted to highlight local groups and opportunities in Cork, around the important factors for health and wellbeing highlighted by the report.

Creative and Cultural Activities

As the report says, older people with the highest levels of wellbeing “are all involved in some form of creative and cultural activity”. The study found that participating in creative and cultural activities makes the greatest contribution to your overall health and wellbeing, out of a long list of contributing factors.

You can check the city council website for news on the latest upcoming cultural events and activities in Cork.

Illness and Disability

A key finding from the report identifies that if your illness or disability allows you to participate is social activities, the activities can counteract the negative effects of ill health on your overall wellbeing.

There are currently 57 Active Retired Groups based in and around Cork, if you’re looking to get involved socially in your area.

The Wellbeing of Carer’s

Caring for a loved one, often your partner, is a role that many older people have to take on. According to the report, when the caring is fairly low intensity it actually has a positive effect on the carers wellbeing. However, where the care given needs to be high intensity, the caring has been shown to have a negative effect on the carers wellbeing. Perhaps this is due to the carer being less able to work or get involved in other activities.

There are several support groups for carers in Cork, including Family Carers Ireland group in Cork and West Cork Carers Support Group.

Remain Active and Healthy

At any stage of live, keeping active is so important to remaining healthy and enjoying increased wellbeing.

With the aim of getting older people more active, more often, the Go for Life Programme helps older people to plan and lead activities and sports. Go for Life also fund groups who are getting older people more active. They have lots of ideas for activities that can be done – either alone or with friends. The Go For Life Programme is very active in Cork, in partnership with the Cork Sports Partnership, to support and coordinate active events in the area including the FitWalk Programme.

In March, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, announced TILDA, a study by Trinity College, which proves that older people make an enormous contribution to Irish society. The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) states that its overarching aim is to make Ireland the best country in the world to live for the over 50’s.

On the back of the increasing spotlight being shone on the wellbeing of older people by Government and in the media, we want to highlight some of the community groups in Cork for the over 50’s:

Groups and programmes for older people in Cork

Active Retirement Ireland groups in Cork

Active Retirement Ireland reaches out to all older people to stop loneliness through friendship and support.

Age Friendly Cork, aims to be the one stop website for all your information needs. The website aims to deliver all the vital information that is the relevant to older people and their families in Cork and throughout Ireland.

Go For Fitline is a phone based service that encourages those over 50 to get more active. Freephone Go For Fitline on 1800 303 545 and their mentors will ring you every few weeks until you’re happy with your progress

Go For Life Programme

Go for Life is the national programme for sport and physical activity for older people in Ireland.

Care and Repair Programme Cork by Age Action

The Care and Repair programme carries out minor repairs for older and vulnerable people free of charge at locations all over Ireland and provides contact details of local tradesmen for larger jobs. Befriending services are also provided through visits and telephone calls.

Care & Repair Programme – Cork

Contact: John O’Mahony on 021-2067399 or email