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After a few weeks of alternating what can only be described as a head fog and those delightful mornings when you can’t help but wonder Am I coming down with a sore throat?”, I’ve found myself on a personal mission, to shake off these rather unwelcome symptoms.  My problem is that I, like many others, tend to ignore these early warnings and I then proceed to get more run down which often results in a longer-lasting illness.

Another issue is, I also find myself stuck in the thought process of “I’m simply too busy to book in with my GP” or “I’m not actually unwell, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time”.  I’ve fallen into a vicious cycle of ignoring the problem for another few days and hoping the symptoms will subside. If you’re reading this and nodding your head in agreement, it’s worth keeping in mind that your local community pharmacist can also provide clinical advice about minor health concerns.

We live in a world where the popular remedy is taking advice from unqualified influencers or Googling our symptoms, rather than just making a little bit of time in our day and visiting one of our local pharmacies for clinical advice. With this in mind, I decided to head to my local pharmacy and ask for some advice on my symptoms.

One of the benefits of visiting my local pharmacy for advice was that I could easily fit this into my lunch break, without having to book an appointment and/or spend time waiting. I approached the counter and the pharmacist was able to speak with me right away. I was initially offered a private room to discuss my health issue, but under these circumstances, it wasn’t required. But this option is worth keeping in mind if you want to discuss a health issue in complete privacy.

I explained my symptoms and once he’d asked me a few important questions the pharmacist was able to reassure me that my symptoms were nothing too serious. It was a case of keeping warm, resting and drinking plenty of fluids. He recommended some over the counter medicines too, which left me feeling well cared for and I’m hopeful I’ll soon get over these constant feelings of an impending cold. I left feeling content that I’ve made some time to focus on my physical health after all life is too precious to be spent ignoring what could possibly be an easily resolvable health issue.  

My intention with this post is to not only share my experience but to offer some encouragement for you to consider visiting your local pharmacist next time you feel unwell. They’ll be able to offer you advice on most minor health concerns along the lines of coughs and colds, sore throats, tummy troubles, plus any aches and pains. And if your symptoms suggest it’s anything serious, pharmacists have the right clinical training to make sure you get the help you need immediately. In fact, they train for five years in the use of medicines and managing minor illness so they really know what they’re doing!

I sought some advice, and felt a weight off my shoulders, all in less than 5 minutes – That’s got to be worth considering!

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 The NHS has launched the Help Us, Help You campaign to encourage you to speak to your local pharmacy team to get advice right there and then – don’t wait for minor health concerns to get worse. You can find out more about what your pharmacy team can help you with at nhs.uk/pharmacyadvice. Thanks to NHS England for helping me with this post, and inviting me to partner on the campaign.

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Katie

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