What pharmacies can help with

Your pharmacy team of health professionals are all trained to give advice on a range of issues including the management of minor ailments.

Many pharmacies provide individual consultation rooms giving a confidential environment for patients to discuss their medication or condition as necessary.

A lot of pharmacies are now open extended hours when other services may not be available – this includes some opening late into the night and Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Why you should think ‘pharmacy first’ for common health conditions


How local pharmacists can help treat common ailments

Bites and stings: how your local pharmacist can help

Bites and stings: how your local pharmacist can help

Transcript of Bites and stings: how your local pharmacist can help video

Speaking: Emma Nicholson, West Bergholt Pharmacy

Bites and stings. So there’s many different things that can cause bites and stings. From mosquitoes, bees, wasps, spiders, just to name a few. With the bite, when you first get bitten, the best thing to do is try and remove the bite and sting, wash the area with just soap and water and then apply a cold compress to the area to help take down the reaction and swelling.

Sometimes these can cause red, swollen, painful areas that also become itchy. Most of the time these are only mild and should resolve themselves in a couple of days.
Sometimes, some people, however, can develop a mild allergic reaction that can take slightly longer to cure – around about a week.

We have many different products that can help the symptoms of bites and stings.

So, we have one-a-day antihistamines, but the preferred would be chlorphenamine, which you can take every four to six hours and is better at taking the reaction down.

With chlorphenamine this can sometimes cause drowsiness, however, but it is better at taking down reactions. So if patients can tolerate it, taking that every four to six hours is the best thing.
If drowsiness is a problem, or the patient is driving, for instance, then the one-a-day antihistamines will still give some relief.

If patients would prefer a topical preparation, there is Anthisan, which is a topical antihistamine cream which can be applied to the area.

We also have some other topical preparations. So for very bad bites and stings, hydrocortisone is great at taking down inflammation and the itchiness.

That can be applied twice a day for a few days. We also have Eurax, for instance, which is an anti-itch ingredient and they also formulate Eurax HC, which also has the hydrocortisone in, so with that cream you’re getting two different ingredients to help relieve the itch and the symptoms of the bite.
Sometimes, some bites don’t resolve and patients can get an infection from the bite.

So, if the redness is tracking from the area and the area is not getting smaller, it’s more swollen and maybe bigger than a 10cm square size, getting bigger and moving from the bite site, then it’s worth seeing the doctor or nurse, as you may require antibiotics to resolve the problem.

Also, you do have some insects that can cause other problems, so obviously, mosquitoes, if people have been travelling, you do have a risk of malaria.

And also, from ticks, you can get Lyme disease. With removing ticks, the best way to do that is very carefully. You can use tweezers, or many pharmacies sell a tick removing device. You have to do this very carefully, and also be careful not to squeeze the tick, because that can cause a risk of infection from the ticks.

Transcript of Dehydration: how your local pharmacist can help video

Speaking: Dipul Patel, Hutt Pharmacy, Colchester

Rehydration is one condition that we’re always asked about by our clients especially in the summer months when it’s nice and hot.

The main signs of dehydration would be thirst, darker urine and obviously when you do pass urine the volume is much less than it probably was before.

There are many causes of dehydration – diarrhoea, vomiting, which is very common in adults and children.

Also, the hot conditions don’t help so we spend more time in the sun, which tends to cause dehydration. Certain medicines tend to cause it as well. Coming to a pharmacy for advice is very important so we can tell you whether you can be treated by, say, taking the rehydration sachets or tablets or we could refer you on to a GP for further guidance.

Pharmacists and pharmacies are well placed in the community, in your local areas, to advise you all about your prescribed medicines, medicines you take, and obviously on minor ailments and conditions.

Transcript of Hay fever: how your local pharmacist can help video

Speaking: Nik Shah, West Bergholt Pharmacy

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction that one in five people will suffer from at some point in their lives. It’s a reaction, or an inflammation, of the nose, eyes, throat and possibly the sinuses as a reaction to pollen.

People can suffer from it at different times of the year, depending on what type of pollen they react to. Tree pollen is normally spring time. Grass pollen is late spring and early summer and weed pollen can be in the autumn.

The inflammation causes the quite common symptoms of a runny nose or a stuffy nose, red, irritated eyes, and an itchy throat.

There’s no cure for hay fever, but there are many options that you can use over the counter that may help treat the symptoms.

They can be used on their own or they can be used as a combination of products. The first product would be the antihistamines. They’re available in tablet form and in liquid form. The most common examples are cetirizine, loratadine and azelastine. They can be used as a ‘when needed’ basis if the symptoms are starting, and they may work, or they can be used on a preventative basis, so to prevent the symptoms from starting, on a daily basis.

The newer antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness, but patients always have to be wary of that. The second option would be steroids, corticosteroids. They reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages, and hence reduce the symptoms of hay fever. They’re best used a few weeks before the symptoms start, and on a regular basis.

The third option is barrier sprays. They’re drug free and safe to use for adults and children. They form a barrier in the nasal passages, which prevent the pollen from causing any irritation.

People that suffer with itchy eyes can use eye drops. Sodium cromoglicate is the most common ingredient in the eye drops that we sell over the counter.
It’s a mast cell stabiliser – very safe to use, very effective, and quite quick acting.

The last option is some self-help tips. It’s always handy to use something like Haymax, which is a barrier balm, which is used on the inside of the nostrils to prevent the pollen from going into the nostrils and irritating the surfaces. Likewise, using wraparound sunglasses when outside can prevent the pollen from affecting the eyes, and also showering and getting rid of clothes you’ve been outside in can help get rid of the pollen and stop it from entering the nasal passages.

Transcript of Minor burns and scalds: how your local pharmacist can help video

Speaking: Alison Hill, Hutt Pharmacy, Colchester

A pharmacy is an ideal place to come for any health advice and we’re going to be talking about minor burns and scalds. The immediate thing to do is to run the affected area if you can under a cold or lukewarm water and this will help to sort of stop the burning process. You shouldn’t really put anything on it in terms of creams or gels um most minor burns will just heal within a week or so.

Okay the thing to watch out for is for patients who are elderly or young children because their healing process is slightly different so just keep an eye on those kind of patients they may need to be seen by somebody more than the pharmacist. But obviously you can come in and we can assess the burn and give appropriate advice and dressings are available to place over the wound or over the area.

And you’ve got Mepore which is a little dressing and then adhesive around the outside or you’ve got Melolin which needs to be stuck on with something and normally for something like a burn I would recommend just a light bandage okay. And these are both sterile dressings but they will help to keep the area clean and hopefully stop it getting infected.

Obviously sunburns you’re going to need to seek more medical advice going to A&E, things to look out for is if the burn area is larger than your hand, if the wound whether the area that’s been burned is white or the skin appears charred then you need to see somebody at A&E and get that assessed because it’s as a sign that the wound that the area is too big or just too deep to be treated at home.

As I say don’t put anything on it, no gels or anything like that as the wound starts to heal things to look out for, especially if the area is blistered, is to make sure that that doesn’t get infected.

So, signs of an infection would be a raised area, so swelling, red painful, a high temperature of 38 degrees or more, any sort of discharge or a smell from the area would indicate that there’s some kind of infection and the patient would need to see the GP or the nurse for antibiotics and treatment.

If you need advice on minor burns and schools then please do pop into your local pharmacy and have a chat no appointment needed thank you.

Page last modified: 22 February 2022
Next review due: 22 August 2022