Stay well this Christmas with help from your local pharmacist
Pharmacists are expert healthcare professionals and can give advice and recommend treatments for minor health conditions such as coughs, colds, sore throats, flu and childhood fever.
This winter, they should be your first port of call unless you are really very unwell.
Last year, over 52 million GP appointments and 3.7 million A&E visits were made in the UK for minor ailments and conditions which people could have treated at home or with advice from their local pharmacist. So NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to think of their local pharmacy first.
Dr Adrian McLachlan, Lambeth CCG Chair and local Lambeth GP, says: "People often go to the doctor with a minor ailment or condition because they are unsure how long symptoms should last and want reassurance that it isn't anything more serious. But before booking an appointment at your local surgery, it's worthwhile paying a visit to your local pharmacist.
"The pharmacist can explain the normal duration of ailments and give advice on symptom relief. It is also important to remember that antibiotics cannot help relieve symptoms of colds and flu as these are viruses. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily can reduce their effectiveness when taken for ailments that they can help with."
So, before booking a GP appointment or waiting hours at A&E, pay your local pharmacist a visit and let them advise you on staying well this winter.
Dr McLachlan added: "No-one wants to be poorly for Christmas so seek advice as soon as you can – don't leave it until you are really poorly. And if you are ill over Christmas, spare a thought for relatives and friends you were thinking of visiting – they won't want your virus and would prefer your company when you're feeling well.
"Think about giving yourself a gift for Christmas too and if you haven't already had one, have a flu jab to protect you against catching the flu. You may be able to get one free from your local GP surgery or pharmacist; if not, you can get one at your pharmacy for around £10."
If you think you are really unwell and a pharmacist will be unable to help, call your GP or NHS 111 or use NHS Lambeth CCG's new website and app to help you find the best place for treatment. The Health Help Now website and app can be downloaded for free at http://www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net/ or by searching in your smart phone app store for Health Help Now. It will help you check symptoms and shows which nearby services are open. Importantly, it will help you know when to go to A&E, and when not to.
The Christmas opening hours for pharmacists are below.
|Pharmacy Name||Address||Postcode||Telephone Number||Christmas Day||28th December||1st January|
|Tesco||227 Kennington Lane, London||SE11 5QU||0345 677 9387||Closed||8am-7pm||9am-6pm|
|Boots||449 Brixton Road, London||SW9 8HH||020 7274 4281||Closed||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Boots||206-208 Streatham High Road, London||SW16 1BB||020 8769 1165||Closed||11am-5pm||11am-5pm|
|Boots||Waterloo Station, London||SE1 7LY ||020 7620 0273||Closed||7am-Midnight||7am-Midnight|
|Boots||174-180 High Street. Clapham. London||SW4 7UG||020 7622 1519||Closed||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Westbury Pharmacy||84-92 Streatham High Rd, London||SW16 1BS||02087691919||9.00am-Midnight||9am-Midnight||9am-Midnight|