The summer of 2020 certainly isn’t one we’ll forget in a hurry. Regardless of how you chose to spend the warmer months, COVID-19 will have had an impact on you in one way or another.
At the time of writing, it’s hard to gauge what stage we’ll be in when it comes to managing the virus – which makes it even more important for you to prepare for autumn and winter when it comes to you and your family’s health.
And that’s where your local community pharmacy comes in. As the colder seasons make their return appearance, your local pharmacy is the best first point of call for the vast majority of winter ailments.
Since coronavirus reared its ugly head in the UK at the start of the year, it’s safe to say life as we know it has radically changed. Your local pharmacy has been there throughout, providing medicine and advice to those that need it, just in a slightly different way. However, as much as they’re here to help, it’s vital you DO NOT attend your pharmacy if you or your family have any symptoms associated with COVID-19. The government’s advice to self-isolate still stands, so ask someone outside your household to drop off essential supplies and medicines at your door to help manage the illness at home.
However, as much as coronavirus is a worry, it’s equally vital to visit your local pharmacy if you have any other autumn/winter ailment – or general concern – that’s not associated with the virus. Need to speak to your pharmacist in private? A consultation room in most cases should be available, however you may be asked to wear PPE. Thoroughly cleaned after each use, this vital space is available for everything from emergency contraception to supervised drug consumption.
Many pharmacies provide flu vaccinations – both privately and as an NHS service.
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you’re otherwise healthy, it’ll usually clear up on its own in about a week.
But flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
✚ anyone aged 65 and over
✚ pregnant women
✚ children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
✚ children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
This year the flu vaccination has been offered on the NHS to other people too – including people living with someone at high risk of Coronavirus.
Cold and cough remedies
Coughs and colds, however, are a different matter – and can rarely be avoided. As annoying as they are, it’s important you contact your pharmacy first before picking up the phone to dial your GP. Many people are still under the illusion that antibiotics will help a whole host of problems, from a sore throat to the common cold – but if it’s a viral infection you’ve caught, then it’s pretty much not going to be the case!
Don’t waste the NHS’s valuable resources and start by speaking to your pharmacy instead, who can offer advice and products to alleviate your symptoms.
They can also point you in your GP’s direction if they believe it to be something other than a general virus.
Stomach bugs also like to do the rounds in autumn and winter and are pretty unpleasant to experience.
Norovirus, also often referred to as the ‘winter vomiting bug’, causes sickness and diarrhoea, and can usually be treated at home. Again, resist the temptation to book a doctor’s appointment, as you’ll put others at risk by potentially passing it on to other people. Instead turn to your local pharmacy, who may be open longer hours than your GP and are fully qualified to help treat and manage your symptoms. Ask a member of your family/friend/representative to go and pick up the over-the-counter medicine they suggest if possible, staying at home and following the advice of your qualified local expert.
It’s good to talk
It’s well worth thinking how a pharmacist can support your mental health during the winter months too. Many people suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – throughout autumn/winter, a type of depression that’s more severe in the winter.
Your pharmacy can offer advice and suggestions such as a light therapy lamp to help boost your mood. They will also have dedicated support websites and telephone numbers to hand should you be suffering with any other form of mental illness, such as loneliness, anxiety and depression. With many people still avoiding public situations due to coronavirus, your local pharmacy is often an essential part of their social routine. Don’t be afraid to keep in touch – your pharmacist may well wish to hear from you to check on any regular medication and ensure you’re up-to-date and OK.
Last, but by no means least, your local pharmacy team can help with a whole range of other family-related issues, again reducing the need to ring your GP at the first sign of illness. Trained on everything from asthma to fever, and colic to chicken pox, you can usually get the medicines without having to visit your GP for a prescription.
Winter also sees skin complaints on the rise, with psoriasis and eczema often worse in the colder months for both adults and children alike. Emollients, soap substitutes for washing and mild topical creams to soothe are all available over the counter, so always head to your pharmacy first to see if they can help alleviate the problem.
Speak to your pharmacist about useful autumn/winter over-the-counter essentials to see what’s right for you and your medical history…
✚ Sore throat lozenges
✚ Cold remedies
✚ Vapour rub
✚ Saline preparations
✚ Cold sore cream
✚ Lip balm
✚ Body moisturiser
Weight gain occurs when you regularly eat more calories than you use through normal bodily functions and physical activity.
Losing weight means eating fewer calories and burning more energy through physical activity.
Calories and your weight
The amount of energy in an item of food or drink is measured in calories.
When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may put on weight.
As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day to maintain a healthy body weight. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal (8,400kJ) a day. These values can vary depending on age, size and levels of physical activity, among other factors.
You can use the NHS website’s calorie checker to look up the calories of more than 150,000 different foods and drinks quickly and simply at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/calorie-checker/
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Your BMI is a good indication of whether you’re a healthy weight. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight. If it’s 30 and over you are obese and could be morbidly obese if it’s 40 and over. It’s easy to check your BMI on the NHS website (www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/).
The BMI is a general indicator but a more important measurement is the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Fat around the belly is of more concern than elsewhere in the body because of the danger it poses to vital organs. For women, a waist measurement of 80cm (31.5 inches) or more is considered high risk, while for men, it’s 94cm (37 inches) or more.
To measure your waist:
✚ Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips;
✚ Wrap a tape measure around your waist, midway between these points;
✚ Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement.
Anyone who is obese has a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. You might think this isn’t a serious condition because it can be managed with medication, but there are many potentially life-changing complications that can arise from it, including loss of vision or blindness, kidney problems, and even amputations as a result of reduced blood supply to the feet and unhealed sores and infections in that area.
It’s no secret that a balanced, nutritious diet along with regular exercise is the safest way to lose weight and to keep it off long-term. But if you’re obese, you may need more help than this.
Some community pharmacies work in partnership with popular weight management clinics and can refer you to them. Others provide their own weight loss services which may include incentive schemes, exercise prescriptions or medication.
If appropriate, the pharmacist may be able to offer you clinically proven medication to help you lose weight, making sure it is suitable for you and your particular needs, and that it does not interact with other medicines you may already be taking. If the pharmacist identifies any extra medical issues, you will always be referred back to your GP.
Your local pharmacy team will help you to understand that weight loss is part of a journey towards a healthier lifestyle, not just a short-term fix. But small changes can make a big difference. A new study reveals that taking a brisk 30-minute walk, five times a week, is the most effective form of exercise to keep weight off; it also significantly reduces waist measurement, especially for women.
The benefits of losing weight can be profound for your mental and physical wellbeing, and for those with Type 2 diabetes it can be extremely powerful.
Significant weight loss and regular exercise can help to reverse the condition, meaning that many of those who are successful in dropping the pounds can reduce their medication or completely come off it. However, it’s important that this is only done with the supervision of a healthcare professional such as a pharmacist or GP.
The primary cause of preventable ill health and death in the UK, smoking puts a strain on your finances, your relationships, your health – and our NHS. Luckily for you, there’s a whole host of services available in your local community pharmacy to get you to stub out the cigarettes for good.
Don’t go it alone
For years, quitting smoking simply meant throwing your cigarettes and lighter in the bin and surviving on self-control alone. Willpower in many situations can be a wonderful thing – and works when it comes to quitting smoking for some – however, the stark reality is that only three in every 100 smokers manage to permanently stop this way. Never feel ashamed or deflated that you’re struggling to cope – you’re only human and smoking is addictive, so visit your local pharmacist now for additional ways to curb that addiction – for good!
Consider using NRT
Common symptoms when you stop smoking include feeling down, disturbed sleep, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, constipation and an increased appetite – not to mention the strong urge to light up! It’s no wonder quitting can seem so daunting, so with this in mind, one service your local pharmacy is able to offer is NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy). Quite simply, the main reason people smoke is due to being addicted to nicotine, so NRT is a range of medications that provide you with a low level of the stimulant, but without any carbon monoxide, tar or other poisonous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Available to buy at your pharmacy without prescription, NRT comes in the form of chewing gum, patches you place on your skin, tablets or lozenges, nasal and mouth sprays. Treatment with NRT usually lasts 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop, however, NRT is not suitable for everyone, so ask to speak to a member of the pharmacy staff who can assess your situation – and your nicotine needs – before investing.
Ask if your pharmacy has a Stop Smoking Service
Some pharmacies offer an NHS stop-smoking service, giving one-to-one consultations, access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy and referrals to specialist services if necessary.
KICKING THE HABIT STATS
Ready to take the plunge and visit your community pharmacy for help with stopping smoking? Here’s just a few statistics to show how amazing kicking the habit really is…
In 20 MINUTES your pulse rate returns to normal
In 24-48 HOURS carbon monoxide levels in your blood are eliminated
In 72 HOURS breathing becomes easier
In 1 YEAR the risk of a heart attack falls by half of that of a smoker
In 15 YEARS the risk of a heart attack falls to the same level of a person that has never smoked
8 Stop Smoking Tips from the Experts
Cancer Research UK asked people who used to smoke for their quitting advice. And, although there is no single way to stop smoking, you may find these expert tips work for you too:
“Do it for your own personal reasons.”
Whether it’s protecting your health, saving money, or not missing out on time with others, our experts listed many reasons why they wanted to quit. Keeping a list somewhere visible can help you stick to your goal.
“I sometimes still get that feeling of something missing and have to remember that it’s normal to feel this.”
Our experts took note of different situations where they were tempted by smoking. Planning how to prepare for these moments, like having nicotine gum or an e-cig to hand, helped them stick to their goal.
“I would encourage people to find their “quit” song.”
Many experts found helpful distraction for times they might have lit up a cigarette. Music, TV, an app, or walking to another space. What might work for you?
“The hardest thing was forcing myself to book the appointment.”
There are many ways to quit, and support from free local Stop Smoking Services is proven to increase your chances of success.
“I certainly felt very alone trying to quit. Find someone to talk to.”
Many people who used to smoke said sharing their experience with stop smoking advisors, as well as friends and family helped them to stop smoking for good.
“Everyone one’s path is different, find what’s right for you.”
Try all the different stop smoking tools. NRT, prescription medication and e-cigarettes can all help you cope with cravings. Maximise your chance of success with support from your local Stop Smoking Service, or even the Smokefree app.
“Knowing that it doesn’t control my life. I got control back and don’t let it dictate every element of my life.”
As well as remembering why you want to stop, enjoy the benefits. Our experts listed many things, from having more spending money, to better health allowing them to do more, like join a choir.
“You are stronger than your addiction to tobacco.”
Stick at it, although you may have tried before. Most people who used to smoke we spoke to had also tried more than once and said, ‘keep trying, you WILL get there’. It’s never too late to make a change.
Tips courtesy of Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/8-stop-smoking-tips-from-the-experts, Accessed September 2020.
Exploring relaxation can help you look after yourself when you’re feeling stressed or worried. Have a look at these tips and ideas to see how relaxation can fit into your daily life. Don’t worry if some ideas don’t work for you – just enjoy the ones that do.
Take a break
Relaxation doesn’t have to take up lots of your time. Just stepping away from something stressful for a few minutes or taking time away from your normal routines and thoughts can give you enough space and distance to feel calmer.
✚ Read a book or a magazine, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
✚ Run yourself a bath, watch a film, play with a pet or try out a new recipe.
TRY ACTIVE RELAXATION
Relaxation doesn’t have to mean sitting still – gentle exercise can help you relax too.
✚ Take a walk, going at your own pace. You might choose to go for a longer walk, but even a few minutes of walking can help you feel relaxed.
✚ Look for a class you’d like to try, such as yoga, Pilates or gentle stretching.
See Mind’s website for more tips on physical activity and mental health. If you’re interested in getting more active to support your mental health, take a look at Mind’s Get Set to Go campaign to find out more about how you can get active in your local area.
Focus on your breathing
Learning to breathe more deeply can help you feel a lot calmer.
✚ Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and place your hand on your stomach – it should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
✚ Count as you breathe. Start by counting ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe in and ‘one, two, three, four’ as you breathe out. Try to work out what’s comfortable for you.
Getting in touch with your artistic side can help you feel more calm and relaxed.
✚ Try painting, drawing, making crafts, playing a musical instrument, dancing, baking or sewing.
✚ Try not to worry too much about the finished product – just focus on enjoying yourself.
See the page on Mind’s website on relaxation exercises for more ideas on how to use creative activities to relax.
Spend time in nature
Spending time outside and in green spaces can be great for your physical and mental health.
✚ Take a walk in the countryside or through a local park, taking time to notice trees, flowers, plants and animals you see on the way. See Mind’s webpage on relaxation exercises for a guided mindful moment in nature.
✚ Spend some time taking part in conservation, whether that’s digging in your own garden or taking part in a local green project. You can find projects and outdoor activities to suit whatever level of mobility you have. See the pages on Mind’s website on ecotherapy for more information about how to find projects in your area.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music can relax you, connect you to your emotions and distract you from worrying thoughts.
✚ Listen to your favourite songs. Turn up the volume and dance or sing along, or put your headphones on and close your eyes.
✚ Really listen to the music. Can you pick out different instruments? Can you hear a drum beat or a certain rhythm? Focus on the music, and let other thoughts fade away.
Do a tech check
Technology can be great for helping you feel connected, but if you’re using it a lot then it can contribute to making you feel busy and stressed. Taking a break (even a short one) can help you relax.
✚ Try turning your phone off for an hour (or a whole day if you’re feeling brave).
✚ Step away from the TV, or have an evening where you don’t check emails or social networks. Use the time to do something relaxing – you could try some of the ideas above.
Picture yourself somewhere serene
Even if you can’t physically get away, your imagination can transport you to somewhere you feel calm.
✚ Think of somewhere relaxing and peaceful. You might choose a memory of somewhere you’ve been, or a place you have imagined.
✚ Close your eyes, and think about the details of this place. What does it look like – what kind of colours and shapes can you see? Can you hear any sounds? Is it warm or cool? Let your mind drift and your body relax.
Making space in your life for relaxation is only one part of managing your mental health. Mind’s webpages on coping with stress and anxiety have more suggestions for ways to help yourself.
If you’re finding things very hard right now and the tips here don’t feel possible, it is ok to ask for help. See Mind’s webpages on seeking help for a mental health problem for guidance on talking to your doctor about options for support and treatment.
The following relaxation tips are taken from Mind’s website, reprinted here with their permission. Visit mind.org.uk for more information resources on mental health.
Your local pharmacy has a multitude of over-the-counter medicines available to buy to treat all manner of aches, pains and discomforts. But what do you do if your favourite brands are not in stock? Did you know there are often unbranded alternatives? It is easy to overlook these items, but you can always turn to the pharmicist for advice and they will point you in the direction of a suitable replacement.
With this in mind, shop wisely when visiting your community pharmacy, asking for help whenever needed. You’ll be able to pick up a host of medicines by browsing the aisles, from pain relief and allergy alleviators, to stomach complaints including indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhoea.
There are also products to help with blocked ears, eye infections, anti-fungal treatments for athlete’s foot – and everything you can practically think of when it comes to first aid. From plasters and antiseptic lotions, to thermometers and alcohol-free cleansing wipes, your pharmacy team are on hand to help with any advice.
Your local pharmacy should also be seen as a health and wellbeing hub in the heart of your community, so make sure you turn to the team if you have any health or fitness concern you’d like to address. For a start, they stock plenty of vitamins and minerals to help your body work properly and stay the healthiest it can be. They’ll sometimes offer healthy snacks and low-sugar food options to keep you on a fit and healthy path, not to mention advice and products for helping you lose weight if you’re struggling to maintain a good BMI. Found in the form of weight loss supplements, slimming aids and meal replacement alternatives, you must speak to a member of staff about these to ensure it’s the right course of action for you as an individual.
Personal hygiene and beauty
Make sure you check out all the cleansing products available on the shelves. Hand and body soaps, shower gels and bathing products are all easily accessible – not to mention affordable – and while you’re there pick up any supplies of anti-perspirant, body moisturiser, and emollients to soothe sore, itchy skin.
Speaking of skin – did you realise you can also buy many of your favourite face creams and beauty essentials from your high street pharmacy? Cleansers, toners and moisturisers, as well as night creams, face masks and anti-wrinkle treatments, are all at your fingertips once you walk through the door.
Intimate hygiene is also an area your pharmacy can offer products and advice, from menstruation essentials to bladder disfunction and thrush or cystitis relief. And don’t forget about protecting your skin if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying a holiday over the winter months! SPF sunscreen, mosquito repellent and bite cream are always at-hand, should you need to buy any before your travels.
Infants and children
Looking after little ones, from babies to adolescents, is costly – so visit your pharmacy for value for money as well as convenience! For tots, nappies, baby wipes, nappy sacks and formula are all available, not to mention any treatments you might need for ailments including colic, cradle cap, fever and teething. You can also pick up baby bottles, sterilising solution and equipment, and even baby bathing products to cover all your infant needs.
Then there’s the other complaints your children might suffer from as they grow. Your pharmacy team are experts at identifying and offering treatment advice on chicken pox, headlice, verruca worries and fever concerns, all the way up to acne issues as they hit their teens.
Many still feel mortified at the thought of discussing any problems with a stranger – regardless of their expertise. Please don’t – your local pharmacy is on hand to help with any manner of sexual health and advice. Condoms, ovulation kits, lubricants and pregnancy tests are all accessible at your local store, not to mention erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra. Your pharmacy may be required to ask a few questions before selling certain products – just remember, it’s in your best interest and answer honestly and openly.
Neglected your grooming routine during lockdown earlier in the year? It’s time to head over to your community pharmacy so you can look good from top-to-toe! From necessities such as tooth hygiene and haircare, to make-up, nail varnish and perfumes, you’ll find a wide range to choose from to get you back to your pre-lockdown best. Men also have a host of grooming products on offer. Hair loss advice is available with supplements to help, not to mention razors, skincare, men’s hair dye and aftershave.
Whether you’re recuperating from an operation or are simply finding mobility more challenging as you age, your local pharmacy has products to help. Struggling to get from room to room? Walking aids such as frames can be bought from some pharmacies. Worried about getting to the toilet in the middle of the night? Bathroom aids and commodes can all be found – or ordered – from some pharmacies. You can even pick up items including pill boxes, incontinence pads, lap tables and eye glasses – even tools to help to open tightly-screwed bottles and cans.
Which medicines can cause drowsiness?
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines have the potential to make people feel sleepy. These include medicines that might be taken for allergy relief e.g. hayfever; cough; to prevent nausea e.g. travel sickness; and sleep remedies. It is important to always read the label as this will help you identify medicines liable to cause drowsiness.
Antihistamines are the most common cause of drowsiness. There are two main types:
✚ first generation (sedating) – can only be bought under the supervision of a pharmacist and are kept behind the counter.
✚ second generation (non-sedating) – have less potential to cause drowsiness.
Although this drowsiness can have a beneficial effect, such as helping someone sleep if they are suffering from a cough, it can also present a risk, particularly for people’s ability to drive safely.
Is everyone affected in the same way?
No. Some people are more sensitive than others to the particular ingredients known to cause drowsiness. There is increasing understanding that there is a genetic link and that some people metabolise the ingredients differently. However, it isn’t possible to predict how an individual will be affected at the point of taking the medicine: external factors such as taking more than one OTC medicine at the same time and drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of drowsiness. It is also important to note that illness itself can be a distraction for drivers if symptoms are not treated. People should ask their pharmacist for advice on choosing a suitable product.
Labelling and regulation
Medicines labelling is regulated and approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Products that have the potential to cause drowsiness have to display a warning statement on the back of the pack. This reads: “This medicine can make you feel sleepy. Do not drive while taking this medicine until you know how it makes you feel. See the leaflet inside for more information.”
Source: The Proprietary Association of Great Britain
Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important steps we can take to reduce the spread of infection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.
How to wash your hands
There’s useful information on the NHS website on how to wash your hands, including a helpful video showing the best way to wash your hands at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. There are various ways to help small children understand how long they should wash their hands for, for example, by singing “Happy Birthday” through twice.
Here’s advice from the NHS website on how to wash your hands:
✚ Wet your hands with water
✚ Apply enough soap to cover your hands
✚ Rub your hands together
✚ Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand
✚ Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers
✚ Rub the back of your fingers against your palms
✚ Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb
✚ Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand
✚ Rinse your hands with water
✚ Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel
✚ Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.
If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, then use alcohol-based handrub if available. This can be purchased from your local pharmacy as well as supermarkets.
KEY TIMES TO WASH YOUR HANDS
✚ After using the toilet or changing a nappy
✚ Before preparing food
✚ Before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
✚ Before eating or handling food
✚ After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
✚ Before and after caring for someone sick
✚ Before and after treating a cut or wound
✚ After touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages
✚ Before and after changing contact lenses
✚ After you have been in a public place
✚ After handling your mask
Parents and carers play a crucial role in teaching children to wash their hands – it’s an essential skill for children of all ages. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit if you start teaching it at an early age. And it’s especially important to remind children to wash their hands. Adults should act as good role models by using good handwashing practices themselves.
Everyone knows that the NHS is under increasing pressure, and your local GP practice is having to care for greater numbers of patients with limited resources. Under these circumstances, it has become extremely difficult to get an appointment to see your GP when you need one, at a time that suits you.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if you need to seek advice but the worst thing you can do is let an illness develop before seeing a medical professional.
Your local healthcare provider
You might think that the pharmacy is just somewhere you go to get a prescription after you’ve seen a doctor. But it’s so much more than that. Pharmacists are highly skilled healthcare professionals who undergo five years of specialist training in the use of medicines before becoming qualified. But that’s not all. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses such as sore throats, coughs and colds; tummy issues; mouth ulcers; athlete’s foot; sleeping problems; and general aches and pains. Pharmacists can offer the right treatment to deal with them, there and then; this could include over-the-counter medicines, advice to rest for a few days, or the simple reassurance that you don’t need to worry. They will also be able to spot if you have more serious symptoms and will tell you if you need to see a GP or go to a hospital. Best of all, you can usually see the pharmacist without an appointment. Many pharmacies are open until late in the evening, at weekends and on bank holidays, and most provide a separate consultation room so that you can discuss your health issues in private.
Every pharmacy can dispense medicine or drugs prescribed by a doctor, on receipt of an NHS prescription. Appliances such as stomas and incontinence products may also be offered, but you should check with your local pharmacy first.
If you’ve run out of a prescription medicine and you don’t have a prescription for it, an emergency supply can be provided, subject to the decision of the pharmacist.
Pharmacies also sell non-prescription medication such as paracetamol and cough medicine. In addition, if you have out-of-date or unwanted medicines, you can take them to your local pharmacy to be disposed of safely.
When you are prescribed new medication, it’s vital that you understand how to take it safely, what the dose is for you and how often you should take it. If you’ve had treatment in hospital and are discharged with different or new medication, you may be referred to your local pharmacy for precisely this reason. The pharmacy team is on hand to guide you and clarify any issues you may have with your new medicines.
If you are on long-term medication for the treatment of specific medical conditions, you can also make an appointment with the pharmacist for a consultation called a Medicines Use Review. Here, you can discuss in more detail any problems you’ve been having. Importantly, the pharmacist can tell you whether it’s appropriate for you to continue taking any herbal or over-the-counter medicines alongside your new medication.
The repeat prescription service, available in some pharmacies, is especially useful if you regularly take the same medicines. Your GP will send your prescription to your preferred pharmacy, and you can then collect your repeat medication direct from that pharmacy. This makes it quicker and easier to get your prescription, and reduces the number of visits to your GP. Once you’re signed up for this service, you’ll need to check when you’re likely to run out of medicine and call the pharmacy a few days prior to that. The team can then request a new electronic prescription from your GP. You will always be asked if you’re having any issues with your prescription medicines such as adverse side effects, and if necessary, the team can discuss them with you and your GP.
The New Medicine Service is a free NHS scheme for anyone suffering with asthma, Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or high blood pressure, or anyone who has been prescribed a new blood-thinning medicine. If you fall into one of these categories, the pharmacy team can give you extra advice when you start taking a new drug for your condition. It can be confusing when you start a new medication so the pharmacist will offer support over several weeks to make sure you’re using the medicine correctly. Under the scheme, you may be referred back to your GP if there’s an issue the pharmacist cannot solve.
Health and wellbeing
Your local pharmacy is, in effect, a health and wellbeing hub for the community on your high street. The help and advice they offer in improving patients’ health is invaluable for society as a whole. Pharmacy teams offer a range of services to help you to live more healthily, but they differ from place to place. It’s well worth dropping in to find out what’s available at your local independent pharmacy. Some services are offered on the NHS while a charge is made for others.
Some pharmacies will test for blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar.
Some pharmacies offer flu vaccinations on the NHS to people in ‘at risk’ groups, including those over the age of 65, pregnant women and patients with certain conditions. If you fall into one of these categories, you will usually be invited for a vaccination automatically.
If you don’t qualify for a free vaccination, you can still pay to have one.
To improve your wellbeing, pharmacy teams can help you to stop smoking through nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and can advise what’s best for you, depending on your overall health.
Help and resources are available in many pharmacies if you want to lose weight; the pharmacy team can measure your BMI, blood pressure and other risk factors, and can sometimes refer you to a weight management programme.
Other services that may be available in pharmacies include advice about using asthma inhalers, emergency contraception, screening and treatment for chlamydia, and a needle and syringe exchange for substance users.
The New Medicines Service (NMS) aims to support you in the early days of taking a new medicine. As part of the NMS scheme, the pharmacist will support you over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect.
The service is only available to people using certain medicines. In some cases where there’s a problem and a solution can’t be found between you and the pharmacist, you’ll be referred back to your doctor.
Am I eligible?
The service is only available for people living in England, and only for those who have been prescribed a new medicine for the following conditions:
✚ Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
✚ Type 2 diabetes
✚ High blood pressure
✚ People who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine
When you take your new prescription to your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if you can take part in the service.
How does the service work?
You can talk to the pharmacist when you first start taking your medicine and ask any questions you may have about it. For example, you might want to know about side effects or how you can fit your treatment around your lifestyle.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment two weeks later, when you and your pharmacist can talk about any issues you might have experienced with the medicine. For example, if you’re not taking it regularly or are finding a tablet hard to swallow, your pharmacist can help you get back on track and work with you to find solutions to any issues.
You will have your last appointment a further two weeks later, when you can catch up with your pharmacist again to see how you’re getting on. The service then ends, but your pharmacist will always talk to you about your medicines when you need help.
Any pharmacist providing the New Medicine Service must have a consultation area. This is a separate room where you can’t be overheard, and most pharmacists have one. All the discussions with your pharmacist can take place in person or by phone.
Why do I need to give consent?
In order to receive the New Medicine Service, you will be asked to give your consent for your pharmacist to share information from your New Medicine Service discussions with:
✚ Your GP, if necessary (for example if they need to change your medicine because you are having a problem with it).
✚ Your local NHS to make sure that the service is being provided properly by your pharmacist.
✚ The NHS Business Services Authority to make sure your pharmacy is being paid the correct amount by the NHS for the service they have provided you.
If you do not give your consent, you will not be able to use the service. However, when you first receive your medicines your pharmacist will still give you advice about them.
Ways to prepare for your discussions with your pharmacist:
✚ Read the leaflet that comes with your new medicine
✚ Make a note of questions you want to ask about your new medicine
✚ Make a note of any concerns about your new medicine that you may want to discuss with your pharmacist
✚ Bring your new medicine to the meeting with your pharmacist
What happens after the NMS discussions?
✚ Everything may be okay with your new medicine and nothing else will need to happen.
✚ If you have had problems with the medicine, you may agree with your pharmacist to change the way you take it.
✚ Your pharmacist may recommend that your doctor reviews your new medicine. If this is needed, your pharmacist will send a note to your doctor explaining the issues raised. You can have a copy of this note.
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Our Infant range provides general pain and fever relief, gentle enough for most babies as young as 2 months. It starts to work on fever in just 15 minutes but is still gentle on delicate tummies. CALPOL® Infant Suspension is available in tasty strawberry flavour as 100ml, 200ml, or sachets. We have sugar free, and sugar & colour free versions available alongside our original suspension.
It’s important to choose an appropriate medicine for your child’s age. CALPOL® SixPlus relieves 5 types of pain… headache, toothache, sore throat, earache, and other aches and pains including muscle aches. CALPOL® SixPlus Suspension is formulated with more than 2x the strength of infant paracetamol. Our SixPlus range includes Suspension and Fastmelts; the only dissolve-in-the-mouth tablet to provide on-the-go pain relief for kids 6 years and over.
With the CALPOL® Family of products, there are a wide range of products to help you relieve the symptoms of your little one’s cold. CALPOL® Saline Nasal Spray and CALPOL® Saline Nasal Drops are suitable from birth and can be used to treat blocked, dry or irritated nasal passages caused by cold and flu, sinusitis, allergy (including hay fever) and post-nasal surgery. We also have the CALPOL® Vapour Plug & Nightlight, which releases soothing lavender and camomile vapours that comfort your child through the night and help with clear & easy breathing.
Cough syrups from the CALPOL® Family have been specially formulated to provide relief from irritating coughs. CALCOUGH Infant Syrup and CALCOUGH Children’s Syrup provides effective relief for little coughs, with immediate soothing relief for day & night use.
From fever, to coughs and blocked noses, we’ve got it covered; Calpol has a range of products for everyday childhood symptoms. For more information about any of our products, please visit www.calpol.co.uk