Visit your pharmacist first if you’re unwell this Easter

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The Easter bank holiday weekend is just around the corner, and the weather forecasters are hinting that Spring is finally on the way. East Staffordshire CCG would like to remind local people that pharmacies are the go-to service for help with common illnesses like coughs and sore throats, and minor emergencies such as rashes and insect bites.

Dr Charles Pidsley, Chair of East Staffordshire CCG, says: “Many GP surgeries will be closed over the bank holiday weekend, but there’s no appointment necessary when you visit your local pharmacist and they can give professional, confidential medical advice straight away.

“They can also provide a wide range of over-the-counter treatments. And if you don’t pay prescription charges, you may be able to receive them free through the NHS’ Pharmacy First Common Ailments service.”

Dr Pidsley says that there are also steps that everyone can take to treat their own symptoms and get better quickly. You can:

Restock your medicine cabinet for less than £10*

  • Painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen - 25p each (junior paracetamol £1.90)
  • Aspirin - 30p
  • Antihistamines for hay fever and allergic reactions to stings and bites - £2.50 for a month’s supply
  • Diarrhoea relief - £1
  • Constipation relief - £1.60
  • Throat lozenges - 99p

Always take remedies as advised by your pharmacist or the instructions on the packet, to keep your discomfort under control. *average from supermarket online prices

Know where to get healthcare advice

If it’s not an emergency but you’d like medical advice, visit your local pharmacist or call the NHS111 service. It’s free, open 24/7 and staffed by fully trained nurses and paramedics. They’ll give you healthcare advice and direct you to the right local service if you need any further help. An up to date list of pharmacies who will be opening over the Easter Bank Holiday can be found here https://www.england.nhs.uk/mids-east/our-work/pharm-info/

Take the right treatment for your condition

Don’t assume that antibiotics are your best option. Coughs and colds are viruses and antibiotics can’t help with these. Over the counter remedies will make you feel better while the virus runs its course naturally over a few days.

Know what to expect

If you’re caring for yourself, it's worth knowing how long you might feel unwell for. Sore throats and stomach bugs will take around a week to clear up, common colds go in about 10 days and coughs or bronchitis can take up to 21 days. If you’re unsure what to do or your symptoms are getting worse, call NHS 111 or see your pharmacist.

As well as NHS 111 and your local pharmacist, you can find health advice on the NHS Choices website - www.nhs.uk.