This Self-Care week, why not ask your local pharmacist about your health queries

Self-care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional.

If you have a long-term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.

Pharmacy is still not being used to its full potential from the general public…

We all know that pharmacists dispense medicines. But they do a lot more than that. 

Did you know, for example, that pharmacies can help with stopping smokingcutting down on alcoholadvice on safe sex and emergency contraception?

Lots of pharmacies are open until late and on weekendsYou don’t need an appointment – you can just walk in.

Your pharmacist can also talk to you confidentially without anything being noted in your medical records, which some people may prefer.

The Self Care Forum is calling on people to make more use of their local pharmacist this winter to help ease the burden on frontline NHS services.

Self Care week 2017

As it is Self Care Week, the Forum highlights the huge number of consultations with GPs and visits to A&E by patients with common ailments – health issues that could be dealt with by their local pharmacist.

Annually, there are around 52 million GP appointments and 3.7million A&E visits for conditions which people could have been treated at home or with pharmacists’ advice.

Dr Selwyn Hodge, Self Care Forum Co-chair, explained how many people don’t know pharmacists are expert healthcare professionals who can give advice and recommend treatments for minor health conditions such as coughs, colds, sore throats, childhood fever.

“From time to time, all of us suffer from minor ailments, or fairly trivial short term conditions such as colds and strained joints that right themselves fairly quickly,” said Dr Hodge. “However, rather than rushing to see a GP or, even worse, going straight to A&E, wouldn’t it be better if everyone learned a bit more about how to safely look after minor illnesses themselves, and where to obtain some appropriate help if needed – such as visiting a pharmacy for advice, perhaps, on over the counter medicines.

“Too often we misuse the services of the NHS by not even trying to look after ourselves as much as we could; not just when we are ill, but also by failing to keep ourselves healthy in the first place  – such as taking plenty of exercise and eating sensibly.”

For more information visit the Self Care Forum here.