Treat yourself better this winter
(Posted on 12/12/13)
A new health campaign supported by South Kirkby Pharmacy in Pontefract is urging people to avoid unnecessary visits to their GP surgery by self-treating common winter ailments.
Part of the ‘Pharmacist First’ initiative, Treat Yourself Better Without Antibiotics is a new campaign from Pharmacy Voice and the PAGB (Proprietary Association of Great Britain) which aims to better educate the public about the proper use of antibiotics and symptom duration.
Unnecessary visits to GP surgeries cost the NHS £35.2 million a year and countless practice hours, with the cost of prescribing antibiotics for acute coughs alone exceeding £15 million.
New research has discovered that almost half the UK population (45%) wrongly believe that cold and flu symptoms can be treated by antibiotics, and that 2 in 5 (40%) see their doctor too early because they don’t understand how long their symptoms should last.
Kay Eaton, Pharmacy Manager at South Kirkby Pharmacy commented: “So many people go to see their doctor because they think they should be get better quickly and they worry when they don’t. There’s also a common misconception that if a cold or sore throat persists then antibiotics will fix it.
“The campaign is therefore all about raising awareness of the normal length of symptoms and the problem of antibiotic resistance, as well as encouraging people to treat common winter ailments, such as coughs, sore throats, colds and flu, fever, earache and indigestion, with homemade remedies and over-the-counter products.
“To help the campaign succeed, pharmacy staff have been trained to offer bespoke advice and feel more confident to exercise professional judgement to cover customers’ specific circumstances. The aim is that customers start to feel more comfortable taking advice from pharmacists and don’t feel the need to visit their doctors unnecessarily.”
The Treat Yourself Better campaign follows hot on the heels of ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ (4-11 November) and will run until the end of February 2014.
‘Treat Yourself Better’ is supported by a wide range of organisations, including the Department of Health, Public Health England (through European Antibiotic Awareness Day), NICE, the community pharmacy trade associations and over-the-counter medicines manufacturers.
For more information and guidance on how you can self-treat cold and flu symptoms this winter, visit the dedicated website: www.treatyourselfbetter.co.uk or call in to South Kirkby Pharmacy.