Pharmacists in offer the best help when it comes to common ailments like coughs, colds, sore throats, hay fever and insect bites.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group and a Stafford GP says: "Pharmacists are fully trained to give you professional medical advice, with a wide range of over-the-counter medications available. You don't need to book an appointment and many pharmacies now have private consultation rooms so you can talk privately."
Taking a few steps could mean that if you are under the weather during the spring, you can look after yourself at home.
1. Stock up on over-the-counter medicines so you're well prepared to treat minor conditions;
- Pain relief like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen
- Antihistamines that relieve any allergic reactions or attacks of hay fever in the spring.
- Medicines for sore throats, coughs, cold and flu.
- Diarrhoea relief, constipation relief and antacids to elevate any stomach problems
2. If it's not an emergency but you're unsure of what help you need, call the NHS 111 service. It's free, open 24/7 and is staffed by fully trained advisers supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and give you healthcare advice or direct you to the local service that is best for you and your needs.
3. Antibiotics are not the 'cure-all' some people think they are. They are ineffective against viruses. For the most common viral illnesses like coughs and colds, over-the-counter treatments are the best thing to control symptoms as the illness passes naturally.
4. If you're caring for yourself, it's worth knowing how long minor conditions take to go away; A sore throat will take around a week to clear up, common colds around 10 days and coughs or bronchitis can take up to 21 days. If you're unsure what to do or your symptoms are getting worse, call NHS 111, see your pharmacist, or call your GP.
As well as NHS 111 and your local pharmacist, you can also get health advice through the NHS Choices website - www.nhs.uk