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Pharmacies have more to offer

Jonathan Lloyd, Community Pharmacist and Pharmacist Lead for the East Antrim Integrated Care Partnership (ICP).

When you have a minor ailment, 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.

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, medicines use reviews and also advice and treatment for minor ailments.

Pharmacists can also help if people are feeling unwell with colds, most coughs, ear infections and sore throats.

Urging people to speak first to their local pharmacist is Joe Brogan, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management  with the Health and Social Care Board who said, “I would encourage people to go to their pharmacist for advice and treatment for common ailments, as well as other community pharmacy-based support.”

Jonathan Lloyd, Community Pharmacist and Pharmacist Lead for the East Antrim Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) added:

“Most people visit their 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.”

The Choose Well public information campaign provides information on choosing the right health care service to meet your needs. For further information visit the Choose Well website.

Listen to Shauneen McKenna, a community pharmacist from Belfast tell you how your community pharmacy can help you here.

Community Pharmacy NI has recently launched a Postcard Campaign also encouraging people to consider visiting their local pharmacy first for a range of minor ailments and advice.