The NHS in east Kent is urging people to use their local pharmacy to buy medication for common minor ailments like hay fever.
As the pollen count rises, one person in five is likely to suffer from the allergic condition, which causes sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.
But not everyone knows that treatment can be provided by a pharmacist rather than having to book an appointment to see a GP. Many treatments are available from as little as £1 from a pharmacy or supermarket.
Pharmacists also provide expert, free, confidential advice on health issues such as cold sores, constipation, coughs, cystitis, diarrhoea, headache, mild eczema, sunburn, sprains and strains. You can simply turn up and ask for advice with no prior appointment.
Details of your nearest pharmacy along with opening times can be found on the free NHS app, Health Help Now: www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk or download Health Help Now from the App Store or Google Play.
Dr Navin Kumta, Chair of NHS Ashford CCG, said: “Rising pollen counts can lead to misery for hay fever sufferers but many cases of hay fever can be controlled using over-the-counter medication available from your pharmacist.
“Pharmacists can offer advice on how to avoid triggers and treat your hay fever. You do not need a prescription for hay fever medicines and many treatments are available for little cost from a pharmacy.
“So for most people, there is no need to let hay fever take up any more of your time by waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
“If your symptoms persist despite using medication as advised by the pharmacist you may wish to speak to your GP about alternative medication which is only available on prescription.”
If you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation, ring NHS 111. If you don’t know what to do or who to contact, use Health Help Now.
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group 03 May 2017