Tissues sell out at Coles, Woolworths and Aldi as Aussies deal with the flu or colds


First toilet paper, now this! Shoppers strip supermarket shelves of TISSUES as supercold strikes

  • Coles, Woolies and Aldi report tissues and medicine have been selling fast
  • Many Aussies have hoarded supplies as many battle colds, the flu or Covid  
  • Tissues, tablets and lozenges have sold out on Coles and Woolies websites
  • Pics of empty shelves have been shared similar to when toilet paper sold out

Shoppers have gone from hoarding toilet paper to tissues at supermarkets as Aussies battle a cold or the flu. 

Coles, Woolworths and Aldi report boxes of tissues, cold and flu tablets and painkillers have been selling fast due to a higher demand.

Many tissue brands have also completely sold out on Coles and Woolworths websites as retailers work with their suppliers to acquire more stock.

The problem has been fueled by the ‘super cold’ during the winter, the beginning of the flu season and the ongoing Covid pandemic. 

Shoppers have hoarded up on tissues as many fight off the flu or a cold. Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have reported low tissue stock across stores as images of near empty shelves surface online

Shoppers have hoarded up on tissues as many fight off the flu or a cold. Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have reported low tissue stock across stores as images of near empty shelves surface online 

Shoppers shared images of empty store shelves that held boxes of tissues, reminiscent of when shelves were raided for toilet paper during the pandemic.

Others took to social media to express their disappointment over not being able to purchase tissues.

‘I thought, ‘there’s a cold going around’ was just a thing people said, but when I went to woolies for tissues and panadol, both sections were almost entirely empty,’ wrote one.

Another commented: ‘Tissues! Woolies and coles shelves empty last night…’

A third shopper said that ‘many items did not exist’ at Aldi including ‘toilet paper, tissues, packet soup, don’t think about frozen chicken, completely empty as well as chips’.

Simon Griffiths, who is the co-founder of toilet paper and tissue company Who Gives a Crap, told Daily Mail Australia that he believes tissue buying has become a state issue rather than a national one.

‘This is a different situation to toilet paper as the spike is in certain states and there are other ways people can blow their nose,’ he said. 

Mr Griffiths revealed that Queensland had the biggest spike in sales across Australia. 

‘We’re seeing a 20 per cent uplift nationally with a 30 per cent index in Queensland and Victoria and a 20 per cent index in New South Wales and Western Australia.’

Mr Griffiths, who still has plenty of tissue boxes available on his website, advised Australian consumers not to ‘panic’ as there’s still plenty of stock circulating and other items to substitute for a tissue.

‘Don’t panic. Panic is the main cause of a lot of problems we had in the pandemic (in regards to toilet paper),’ he added. 

Aussies are buying up tissues and medicine amid the 'super cold' during the winter, the beginning of the flu season and the ongoing Covid pandemic

Aussies are buying up tissues and medicine amid the ‘super cold’ during the winter, the beginning of the flu season and the ongoing Covid pandemic

Shoppers posted pics of empty shelves, reminiscent of when toilet paper was raided during the pandemic. Others took to social media to express their disappointment

Shoppers posted pics of empty shelves, reminiscent of when toilet paper was raided during the pandemic. Others took to social media to express their disappointment

A Woolworths spokesperson acknowledged that there was a stock issue with tissue boxes in a statement.  

‘Given the recent cold snap and early start to the flu season, there’s quite a lot of demand for a range of medicinal and paper goods products including cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges and tissues,’ the spokesperson said.

‘While customers might notice that the availability of some of their preferred brands might be limited, we continue to offer a wide range of alternatives across these ranges.’

Coles reassured shoppers that there will be sufficient supply of tissues during the flu season.

‘Customers may notice that some stores might not have their usual brands of facial tissues in stock at the moment,’ a spokesperson said.

‘We want to assure customers that there will be enough stock to get them through this flu season, and encourage them to be flexible if the products they would usually purchase are not available.’

Aldi declined to comment on their tissue stock. 

Woolworths confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that there was a stock issue with tissues, cold and flu tablets and lozenges. The supermarket giant said it was working with suppliers

Woolworths confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that there was a stock issue with tissues, cold and flu tablets and lozenges. The supermarket giant said it was working with suppliers 

Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions have left Australians with low immunity as the country faces a record-breaking flu season.

Chair in Epidemiology at Deakin University Professor Catherine Bennett told Daily Mail Australia Covid restrictions coupled with unseasonable weather are responsible for the 87,989 flu cases reported early this season.

‘After two low flu seasons, in fact virtually no season in 2021, we don’t have the usual cross immunity from recent exposure,’ she said.

‘We had an early start to the flu season this year, partly because as international border restrictions and isolation requirements eased, travellers brought the virus from other countries still coming out of winter.

‘We also had a very wet summer along parts of the east coast which may have helped create indoor mixing conditions that lead to more local spread than usual.’

Australia's massive spike in flu cases is likely due to low immunity because of Covid restrictions and wet weather keeping people indoors

Australia’s massive spike in flu cases is likely due to low immunity because of Covid restrictions and wet weather keeping people indoors

Dr Bennett added that low flu vaccination rates after mass Covid vaccination schemes could mean people will get more sick, more often.

‘Some people have stopped their flu shots over the last two years,’ she said.

‘This means we have less immunity against infection and may experience more severe illness than in pre-Covid years.’

With flu medicine running in low supply, Dr Bennett recommends people make the most of available flu vaccines and focus on their general health.     

‘The main thing is to get vaccinated for the flu, if you’re not already. It’s a good match to the current circulating strains so it works well,’ she said.

‘If you get an infection you should watch you don’t get dehydrated and take pain relief for headaches or sore muscles. 

‘If you are feeling very unwell,  seeking doctor’s advice early is important.’

Victorian President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Anthony Tassone said the sudden high demand for flu and pain medication has created a shortage in pharmacies.

Doctors recommend people stay on top of their flu and Covid vaccination (above) to avoid catching a severe flu as medicine shortages continue

Doctors recommend people stay on top of their flu and Covid vaccination (above) to avoid catching a severe flu as medicine shortages continue

Chair in Epidemiology at Deakin University Professor Catherine Bennett (above) said eased border restrictions saw the flu begin spreading in Australia earlier than usual

Chair in Epidemiology at Deakin University Professor Catherine Bennett (above) said eased border restrictions saw the flu begin spreading in Australia earlier than usual

‘There have been shortages for medications used for pain and fever such as paracetamol and ibuprofen – in products for children and adults,’ he said.

‘These shortages happened intermittently throughout the Covid pandemic and may be due to sudden increases in demand which supply cannot keep up with.’

Mr Tassone said he’d seen the shortage first-hand in his Victorian pharmacy where cases are 278 times higher than this time last year.

‘Pharmacy teams are trying their best to obtain stock as soon as possible and may be able to suggest an alternative,’ he said.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the supermarket giant is also experiencing a shortage of flu essentials including cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges and tissues.

The contagious ‘superflu’ began making the rounds in March but started to spread rapidly in late May with 47,860 cases recorded in just two weeks between May 23 and June 5.

What you need to know about the ‘super flu’ and ‘super cold’

A ‘super cold’ is breaking out in Australia after two years of Covid isolation as health experts warn of more respiratory illnesses as the country re-opens. 

The super cold first appeared in the UK in November, with victims suffering flu-like or Coronavirus-like symptoms, but repeatedly tested negative to Covid.

Sydney GP Dr Charlotte Hespe warns symptoms are similar to flu and Covid, and can be difficult to tell apart, but doctors says even super colds should not be as severe as flu

Sydney GP Dr Charlotte Hespe warns symptoms are similar to flu and Covid, and can be difficult to tell apart, but doctors says even super colds should not be as severe as flu

Now a similar outbreak is happening in Australia, with thousands reportedly being struck down.

One Sydney woman had just recovered from Covid two weeks ago before contracting the new super-cold on the weekend.

‘I really believed I’d caught Covid again, but all the tests have come back negative,’ the Northern Beaches yoga instructor old Daily Mail Australia.

‘At first I thought it was just tonsillitis, but then it got worse and worse. I started taking the rapid antigen tests to make sure it wasn’t Covid. 

‘I just feel awful – it might even be worse than Covid.’

The super-cold symptoms are similar to flu and Covid, and can be difficult to tell apart.

‘We are seeing more of these upper respiratory tract infections,’ Sydney GP Dr Charlotte Hespe told Daily Mail Australia.

‘A cold is a classic viral upper respiratory tract infection – irritable sneezing nose, lots of fluid from your nose, cough, sore throat, runny, sticky eyes. 

‘You may also get a sort of raspy cough but that’s it by and large. You should recover within five to seven days.’

But she warned Australia was ripe for a flu outbreak – and it is much harder to tell the difference between flu and the Omicron Covid strain with its milder symptoms. 

‘We will see the flu emerging more,’ she said. ‘

‘The flu is very unpleasant. 

Australia is ripe for a flu outbreak, warn doctors, and it is much harder to tell the difference between flu and the Omicron Covid strain with its milder symptoms

Australia is ripe for a flu outbreak, warn doctors, and it is much harder to tell the difference between flu and the Omicron Covid strain with its milder symptoms

Travel bans during the pandemic combined with lockdown measures and mask mandates have dramatically reduced our immunity to normal flus and colds

Travel bans during the pandemic combined with lockdown measures and mask mandates have dramatically reduced our immunity to normal flus and colds

‘It’s similar to the symptoms of Covid; you get headache, aches, pains and a fever.

‘To diagnose flu, you need a fever and headache as well as some respiratory symptoms such as the sore throat or nose and cough – but you might not get those.

‘It’s predominantly often those more systemic symptoms of being unwell with fever, headache, aches and pains and feeling miserable. Recovery is 10-14 days.’

Tell-tale signs such as a loss of taste and smell are often Covid-only symptoms which can differentiate it from flu. Rapid antigen or PCR test results still remain the best way of identifying Covid.

But GPs are now warning that Australia has never been more susceptible to colds and flus than it is right now after being cut off from the rest of the world for so long. 

Travel bans during the pandemic combined with lockdown measures and mask mandates have dramatically reduced our immunity to normal flus and colds. 

 ‘People who we’ve been protected against from for the last two years are travelling again,’ Dr Hespe added.

‘They’re bringing with them viruses that are rampant in the winter countries that aren’t rampant here.’

There are even fears the flu may kill more people than Covid this year.  

‘We have less immunity against the flu now because we’ve skipped two flu seasons,’ epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett warned.

‘You might see fewer coronavirus deaths in winter because vulnerable people are actually more vulnerable to flu.’

Health chiefs have a flu shot campaign set to rollout within weeks but medics are worried vaccine fatigue will stop many from getting the vital jabs to protect them

Health chiefs have a flu shot campaign set to rollout within weeks but medics are worried vaccine fatigue will stop many from getting the vital jabs to protect them

Health chiefs have a flu shot campaign set to rollout within weeks but medics are worried vaccine fatigue will stop many from getting the jabs. 

‘We do have a vaccine and it is highly effective,’ Dr Hespe said.

‘But I’m hearing a lot of people saying, ‘For goodness sake, I’ve had enough of this…’ Please don’t think that – it really does provide you with really good protection.’

‘I am sure we going to have a particularly bad cold and flu season this year.

‘I recommend everybody continues to wear face masks when you’re in crowded situations – and particularly when you’re around anybody who may not be well. 

‘And if you’ve got symptoms, stay at home and don’t go and spread it to somebody else.’

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