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​Dr Know - ask your pharmacist


Last week was ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ week, and there are some very good reasons why you should call into your local pharmacy and find out more about the range of services on offer there. 

We’ve really hit the cold and flu season now – and while people in ‘at risk’ groups should protect against flu by getting the jab – there’s not a great deal you can do to avoid colds, and there are no miracle cures.  Basic hygiene can help stop bugs from spreading, so washing your hands and disposing of used tissues is always good advice. While antibiotics can be effective for bacterial infections, such as a nasty chest or ear infection – they don’t do anything for clearing up the common cold virus – and using these drugs when they’re not absolutely necessary is becoming a real problem and can lead to  ‘antibiotic resistance’ (when an antibiotic is no longer effective) . It's important that we use antibiotics the right way, to slow down resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines remain effective for us and future generations.  If your doctor doesn’t prescribe antibiotics, it’s because they are not the right treatment for you.

This is where pharmacists can really help by advising which treatments and medicines can help relieve symptoms such as a sore throat or blocked nose, taking into account your age, health and any other medication you’re taking.  They are highly trained professionals, and if they think you need to seen by a GP or dentist, then they will point you in the right direction.  

You don’t need to wait until you’re unwell to get advice – perhaps you’d like to know more about losing weight, cutting down on alcohol or giving up smoking?  There are ‘healthy living champions’ working in Lambeth pharmacies who can advise you on making healthier lifestyle choices and let you know where to get support.

We have 64 pharmacies in Lambeth, many of them open long hours and at weekends, and you can just walk in  - no appointments and you don't need to be registered, so it’s always worth popping in to ‘ask your pharmacist’ about everyday health concerns.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair, NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group