We often think of becoming unwell in the winter – coughs, colds and everything that follows but did you know that there are many minor conditions that you can self-care for in the summer?

By supporting yourself and loved ones to stay well from home you are supporting the NHS by keeping vital GP appointments open and reducing pressures on A&E. Many of the medicines that the GP would prescribe can be purchased from a local pharmacy, which is more convenient and often cheaper. The pharmacy team will always refer you to your GP or an out of hours service if needed.

A single prescription will cost you £9.35

Here’s how much some summer home remedies cost:

  • Travel sickness tablets as little as £2.79
  • Bites and sting cream as little as £2.50
  • Hay fever tablets as little as £1.20

Although you may know the medicine by the name of the popular brand, there may be a cheaper generic available. Ask the pharmacy team about this.

Free prescriptions? Even if you are entitled to free prescriptions, please access local pharmacy services where possible for those minor conditions that can be treated at home.

Skin & Sunburn

Dry and irritated skin (caused by sunburn or from increased heat in general) can be uncomfortable and if left untreated, can get worse. Use sun protection when out as this protects from more than just sunburn.

If you need some help with sunburn, dry or irritated skin then the pharmacy team are the right people to help. They can recommend how to care for your skin and products to apply (including creams for use in the bath or shower).

Some of these items may cost around that of a prescription but buying these from your local pharmacy saves you, and the NHS, time.

Travel sickness

Travel sickness medicines can be purchased from your local pharmacy, no need to see your GP. The pharmacy team will make sure the medicine is safe for you to take by asking some quick and simple questions. They will be able to tell you how to take them also and maybe even recommend some non-medicinal remedies to help as well.

Allergies & Insect bites

Not just in spring, allergies can be tough in the summer too. Nasal sprays and tablets are widely available at your local pharmacy. Again, the pharmacy team will make sure the medicine is safe for you to take by asking some quick and simple questions.

Have a look here for bite prevention (as well as treatment) and hopefully you’ll avoid getting stung.

Insect bites and stings – Prevention – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

However, if you do get a bite or sting, pop to your pharmacy first as they will be able to advise treatment and determine if you need to see your GP.

Referral to pharmacy

Have you already been referred to your local pharmacy from your GP? There is a national initiative to refer patients to their local pharmacy where the pharmacist can help instead of a seeing a GP. The reception team may ask you a few questions to work out where is best for you to be seen.

If you do need to see a GP, the pharmacist you are referred to will provide advice and may ask you to purchase the medicines recommended.

Access to primary care for holidaymakers – call your own GP first

As people flock to holiday spots around the country, general practice in popular locations is under increasing pressure to manage the huge influx of patients.

The message to visitors wherever they are staying is to call your own GP at home if you need health care or advice. Patients can be assessed and treated by their own practice by phone or video consultation in most cases. Managing your own patients when they are on holiday around the country, without referring them to a local practice, is an important way you can support colleagues in general practice this summer.

The message for pharmacy is to visit a local pharmacy where people are staying; pharmacists can help with minor health concerns like tummy troubles, aches and pains and many more.