Somerset’s pharmacists and family doctors are reminding older patients and people living with long-term health conditions to help themselves and the NHS this winter by taking good care of their health.
Winter’s cold, damp weather leaves many over 60s prone to minor winter ailments. Asking your local pharmacist for advice about sore throats, bad coughs, colds and flu can save you time and avoid the need to see a GP. The quicker you get help the quicker you will recover and get your life back to normal.
Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, from the Somerset’s Local Pharmaceutical Committee, says: “People don’t always realise the extent of services offered by their local pharmacy. For example, we can support people with long-term conditions who have been newly prescribed a medicine to ensure they understand what the medication is for, any side effects and how to manage them.
“We can also review people with long term conditions who are taking multiple medicines to check they are still suitable. In most cases, we will be able to help people with either overthe-counter medicines or advice. What’s more, many pharmacies are open in the evenings and at weekends, and you don’t need an appointment.
“Remember to use your local community pharmacy for common ailments. We will advise you if you need to see your GP. Going to the pharmacy early will give you access to medication and advice on minor ailments.”
Your local pharmacy can also:
- Provide the free flu jab if you are over 65 or are in any of the other high risk groups;
- Give you advice on how to care for an elderly relative or friend who has a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat;
- Offer longer opening hours than your GP surgery and see you without an appointment;
- Advise you if you need to see your GP.
Dr Matthew Dolman, a GP and Chairman of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Every winter doctors and nurses see a big increase in the number of older and frail people admitted to hospital, mainly because of breathing problems caused by conditions like asthma and bronchitis.
“People often don’t seek advice for wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste the pharmacist’s time. But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.” Winter health advice:
If you need early help or advice and can’t get to the pharmacist you can always talk to your friends or your carers. They will be able to point you in the right direction or help you get early help and information about minor illnesses and ailments from the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/asap
or from the free NHS telephone helpline 111. If your symptoms do not go away see your GP. Find a pharmacy:
To find your nearest pharmacy search online at the NHS Choices web
site: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Pharmacy/LocationSearch/10 Note for editors
This year’s NHS winter advice campaign is called ‘Feeling under the weather’ and aims to
encourage people, particularly the elderly, to nip health problems in the bid by seeking early
advice from their pharmacist.
See the campaign video at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7ot9WCJ1Ug