Published on Apr 19, 2018
NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says patients who suffer from hay fever should initially visit their local high street community pharmacy for help and advice, rather than make an appointment to see their GP.
Pharmacists are well placed to offer their expertise to help hay fever sufferers manage their condition.
A number of effective over-the-counter remedies are available from pharmacies, as well as supermarkets and smaller grocery stores, including antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays, eye drops and decongestants.
Dr Greg Black, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG’s clinical lead on prescribing, said: “We are keen to encourage patients to visit their community pharmacy for advice and to purchase treatments ‘over-the-counter’, rather than make an appointment to see a GP and obtain a prescription.
“Patients do not always realise that a wide range of effective hay fever medications can be purchased from community pharmacies, supermarkets and even corner shops without seeing their doctor and that these medications are often cheaper than NHS prescription fees.”
Ekaitz Unanue, Pharmacist Manager at the Lincolnshire Co-op in Aberdeen Walk, (pictured) said: “There’s no cure for hay fever but most people can tackle their symptoms with over-the-counter medication. Treatments come in many different forms such as tablets, capsules, liquids, nasal sprays and eye drops. Your local pharmacist can recommend the most appropriate medication for you for free.
“We’re here to care for people’s health and wellbeing and offering free advice to our customers suffering with hay fever is one way we try and make life better in our communities.
“Our branches have private consultation rooms and best of all, there’s no appointment needed. If you are suffering with hay fever, just pop in and speak to a helpful member of our expert team.”
NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG says there are a number of measures hay fever sufferers can also take to help themselves:
- Keep windows shut in the house and car, especially when pollen counts are high
- Avoid cutting the grass, grassy areas, woodland, pollutants and car fumes
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses
- When you get indoors wash your hands, face, hair, rinse your eyes and change your clothes
- If possible, stay indoors when the pollen count is high
- Use petroleum jelly inside your nose to block inhalation of pollen
- Keep your house clean and wear a mask and glasses when doing house work
- Don’t dry washing outside to avoid pollen sticking to your clothes
- You could buy a pollen filter for the air vents in the car
Patients are advised to see their GP if:
- They are experiencing wheezing, breathlessness or tightness in their chest
- They are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Their symptoms are not relieved by over the counter treatments in combination with measures to reduce exposure to pollen
NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG spends more than £1 million a year on prescriptions for basic medicines that patients could buy themselves, over-the-counter, including around £50,000 a year on antihistamines.