Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns.
As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Here are some ways your pharmacist can help you.
Support with minor ailments
Pharmacists can offer advice and over-the-counter medication to help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries.
You can see them for help with typical ailments such as:
- coughs, colds and the flu
- aches and pains
- skin rashes
- sore throat
- red eye
Many pharmacists can also help with access to the morning after pill, pregnancy tests, and needle exchange services.
You don’t need to make an appointment to see a pharmacist and they will let you know if you need to see a doctor.
Help with your medication
Your pharmacist can help manage repeat prescriptions and help with any questions that you might have about medication that you have been prescribed by the doctor.
If you’re taking lots of different medicines, you may be able to have a Medicines Use Review with your pharmacist to help you work out when you should be taking your medication and discuss any questions or side effects.
People starting a new medicine to treat a long-term condition may be able to seek extra help from their local pharmacist through the New Medicine Service (NMS). This free scheme offers support over several weeks when you try a medicine for the first time. The NMS is only available for those taking certain medicines. Visit NHS Choices for more information.
Help to live a healthy life
As well as helping you tackle ailments when they happen, pharmacists can also help you to have a healthy lifestyle. Rather than visiting your GP, go to your local pharmacy for advice on how to keep your family well. You can talk to them about how to eat healthily, lose weight, and the types of exercise you could be doing.
Pharmacists can also help you to stop smoking. They offer nicotine replacements, such as gum, patches or other medicines, as well as regular check-ins to help you stay motivated.
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A short animation showing the increasing ways in which your local community pharmacy can help: