Thankfully we are finally seeing an improvement in the weather, but for many this will unfortunately signal a return of hay fever symptoms.
Hay fever is not a pleasant condition and can be a frustrating condition to suffer from. However, I would like to use my latest column to take the opportunity to point you in the direction of pharmacists rather than GPs to treat hay fever.
A pharmacist can offer advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose.
Hay fever unfortunately affects around one in four people in the UK, but there are a number of steps you can take to reduce symptoms. This includes not mowing your lawn when the pollen count is high, avoiding outside activity when the air is warming up and cooling down and opening bedroom windows at night, but closing them in the morning.
Hay fever is not the only condition which I would urge you to visit a pharmacy as the first port of call. For aches and pains, can you buy what you need? Prescribing readily available drugs such as paracetamol costs the NHS millions every year.
Incredibly, if you stacked all of the paracetamol prescribed annually in the North East and Cumbria, it would be equivalent to 11,895 Big Bens!
I would urge you to visit your pharmacy first if you are struggling with any aches and pains. It will save you time and also will help the NHS save a remarkable amount of resources. If you take care of the little things, your NHS can keep care of you.
Most pharmacies also now offer a private consultation room, so there is no need to feel embarrassed about visiting to talk about sensitive issues.
If you’re heading on holiday, can you buy your medication you need? I would recommend bringing antiseptic, painkillers, sterile dressings, plasters and sunburn treatment if you’re heading somewhere sunny!
Pharmacies can also provide a range of advice to make sure you’re prepared for common illnesses before you set off on holiday. Remember to make sure you have repeat prescriptions in advance if you regularly take certain medication.
I really hope this column helps people understand what an important role we can all play to help save the NHS a huge amount of money. It could be worth £850 million if we all followed these guidelines.