Pharmacies have more to offer

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The Health and Social Care Board is encouraging people to speak first to their local pharmacist for advice and treatment for common ailments, as well as other community pharmacy-based support.

Pharmacists are ideally placed to help provide health and wellbeing services to keep people well in local communities.

A Pharmacist’s role is not limited to dispensing prescriptions; they also provide expert advice and a range of additional services that people may not be aware of, such as help and advice to quit smoking and also minor ailments. Some pharmacists can also provide free blood pressure, cholesterol and Body Mass Index checks which take place in a private treatment or consultation room within the pharmacy. Pharmacists can also help if people are feeling unwell with colds, most coughs, ear infections and sore throats.

Jonathan Lloyd, Superintendent Pharmacist and Pharmacist Clinical Lead for the East Antrim Integrated Care Partnership, said:“Most people visit there local pharmacy on average 12 – 15 times a year and may not know the range of services available. We want to try and encourage customers to not reach out to their GP for antibiotics at the first opportunity.

“What many people do not realise is that the duration of many common conditions can be longer than expected. For example sore throats can last up to seven days, common colds ten days. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you require a doctor, so speak to your pharmacist first for advice on how to treat your symptoms with over the counter medicine. You can often ease the symptoms of many common conditions by ensuring you have plenty of rest and drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty.”

Choosing the right option may have you feeling better quicker than you would have expected. A range of common illnesses and complaints, such as aches and pains, coughs, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest. Remember, whether treated or not, most of these will get better. Think Where, Choose Well.