Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that can be easily resolved without a doctor's appointment.
It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot. By visiting your pharmacy instead, you could save yourself time and trouble.
Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.
Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.
Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time - you don't need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. Your local Pharmacist can also advise on healthy eating.
Pharmacists can also advise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from the chemist without a prescription.
NHS Walk-In Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services for patients based in England only. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:
NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.
Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.
Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and affects almost everyone from time to time. A common cause in both children and adults is gastroenteritis, an infection of the bowel.
Bouts of diarrhoea in adults may also be brought on by anxiety or drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Diarrhoea may also be a side effect of a medication
NHS Choices Symptoms, causes, treatment and information
Macmillan Cancer Support Diarrhoea as a result of cancer treatments
If someone is injured, you should:
After an incident - If someone is injured in an incident, first check that you and the person who is injured are not in any danger. If you are, make the situation safe. When it's safe to do so, assess the person who is injured and, if necessary, dial 999 for an ambulance. You can then carry out basic first aid.
Anaphylaxis - Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Follow the link to see the identifying factors of an Anaphylactic shock and the steps to take if you suspect yourself or someone else is having one.
Burns - Appropriate first aid must be used to treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible. This will limit the amount of damage to your skin. This link will help with the steps to take in the event of a burn* - *including: sunburn, electrical burns and acid/chemical burns.
Fits - If you see someone having a seizure or fit, there are some simple things you can do to help. It might be scary to witness, but do not panic. This link will help you with what to do if someone around you is having a seizure.
Wounds and Nosebleeds - Most cuts and grazes can be treated at home and will start to heal in a few days. But some wounds may need to be treated by a medical professional if there's a risk of infection or the cut is serious. If someone is bleeding heavily, the main aim is to prevent further blood loss and minimise the effects of shock. These links can help you with what to do following an injury which results in a wound or bleeding.
CPR - This is a very good skill to have and can help save a life. If someone is unconscious and not breathing normally, call 999 and start CPR straight away. This link guides you how to correctly administer CPR to adults, children and babies.
Recovery Position - If a person is unconscious but is breathing and has no other life-threatening conditions, they should be placed in the recovery position. This link shows you the correct way to put a person into the recovery position safely and the scenarios which would require you to do this.
British Red Cross - First Aid Tips Simple, straightforward and easy to understand first aid tips
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. Usually it's a self-limiting infection – this means it gets better by itself without the need for treatment.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year. Adults who come into contact with children tend to get more colds. This is because children usually carry more of the virus, for longer.
In the UK, you’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months although the reasons why aren’t fully understood at present.
For most people, a cold will get better on its own within a week of the symptoms starting without any specific treatment. However, there are treatments that can help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. These are available from your pharmacy, which means that you can treat yourself, rather than needing to see your GP.
There is no cure for colds. Antibiotics, which treat infections caused by bacteria, don't work on cold viruses.
There are a number of self-help measures that may help to ease the symptoms of a cold.
You should try to make sure you get enough rest if you have a cold. It’s not usually necessary to stay off work or school.
NHS - is it the common cold or the flu?Colds and flu can share some of the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat) but are caused by different viruses, and flu can be much more serious. Find out