Many common winter illnesses can be treated at home. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the best medicines and treatments for minor ailments. To find your local pharmacy and its opening times – many are open late into the evening – see www.nhs.uk or call 111.
Pharmacies can give treatment advice about a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as:
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- skin rashes
- red eye
If you want to buy an over-the-counter medicine, the pharmacist and their team can help you choose.
Antibiotics will not be available over the counter to treat minor conditions.
New Medicine Service
The New Medicine Service is available at pharmacies to give you extra help and advice if you’re just starting on a new medicine for one of the following conditions:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- people who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine
Medicines Use Review
You can make an appointment with a pharmacist for a more detailed consultation called a Medicines Use Review. This is especially useful if you regularly take several prescription medicines or have a long-term illness.
Other healthcare professionals may also ask for your permission to refer you to a pharmacy of your choice for a Medicines Use Review, for example when you have been discharged from hospital with a change to your medicines.
You can talk about what you’re taking, when you should be taking it, and any side effects you might be concerned about.
Tell your pharmacist if you’re taking any over-the-counter medicines or any herbal remedies. They can advise you whether these can be taken at the same time or not.
Disposing of old medicines
If your medicine is out of date, unwanted, or some of it is left over after you have stopped taking it, don’t put it in your household bin or flush it down the toilet. Instead, take it to your pharmacy to be disposed of safely.
Other pharmacy services
Other services that may be available at your local pharmacy:
- you may be referred to a pharmacy for advice after calling NHS 111
- emergency contraception
- asthma inhaler use and advice
- chlamydia screening and treatment
- stop smoking service
- blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing
- substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
- weight management service
- flu vaccination
Many pharmacies offer extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends. Some are open until midnight or even later, even on public holidays.