With local NHS services continuing to experience extreme pressures, people living in and around Dorset are being asked to self-care or consult with their local pharmacist for winter-related illnesses including common coughs and colds, flu and norovirus.

Many premises are shut over the break so make sure you are prepared.

Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet. For example:

  • Pain relief such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen for aches, pains and high temperatures
  • Oral rehydration salts to replace lost minerals and fluid after a fever or vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Indigestion relief remedies

GPs are unable to prescribe medicines which can be bought from local pharmacists or supermarkets for a range of minor illnesses.

These include:

  • sore throats
  • cold sores
  • conjunctivitis
  • coughs
  • diarrhoea
  • indigestion
  • heartburn
  • headaches

If however, symptoms persist, please contact your GP practice.

Katherine Gough, Chief Pharmacist at NHS Dorset, commented: “Make your local pharmacist your first port of call this winter. Generally, over-the-counter medicines will help ease symptoms of common winter illnesses and we have pharmacies across Dorset, offering late, weekend and bank holidays opening hours.

“Most minor conditions will clear up on their own, but if your illness does persist, visit your pharmacist again and they will be able to advise if a GP appointment is necessary. Most pharmacies offer consultation rooms if you would like to discuss your illness in private.”

You can find your nearest pharmacy via the NHS England website www.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy.