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If Santa brings you a cold for Christmas visit your pharmacy

With the festive period being a traditionally busy time for the NHS, local people are being reminded to seek the expertise of local pharmacists should they suffer a minor illness or injury and need treatment advice.

A number of pharmacies will be open during the holiday season and able to offer free, expert advice without the need for an appointment, or sitting and waiting for hours. If it’s a cough, cold, stomach bug, indigestion or a hangover, your local pharmacy will be able to advise of the right remedy.

Alternatively, local people can also help themselves first by making sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet before the festivities start. This should include things such as:

• Painkillers – paracetamol and/or ibuprofen
• Oral rehydration remedies
• Anti-diarrhoea tablets
• Indigestion tablets such as chewable antacids
• Plasters, bandages and antiseptic

In East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen all pharmacies will be open on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve as normal. However, closing times may vary so it is best to check with the individual pharmacy.

Darwen GP and Clinical Chief Officer at Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Dr Chris Clayton, said: “Our pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who can provide free advice on the best treatment for a wide range of illnesses and minor injuries and should be the first point of call for any minor illness. Our Accident and Emergency department is strictly for serious accidents and life-threatening illnesses.

“We are under serious pressure but especially during the winter months which are often the busiest time of year for the NHS.”

Dr David White, a GP in Burnley and the clinical lead for unscheduled care at East Lancashire CCG, added: “Anyone who isn’t feeling well over the festive period can also ring 111 for help and advice on where to go and who to see. They can also book an out-of-hours GP appointment for you if needed.

“Plus there is also excellent advice on how to self-manage many minor illnesses on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk as well as our local children’s minor illness electronic booklet available on both CCG websites.”

A full list of Christmas and New Year opening times for pharmacies is available at:

• Blackburn with Darwen http://www.blackburnwithdarwenccg.nhs.uk/pharmacy-opening-times-christmas-new-year/

• East Lancashire http://www.eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/news/410-pharmacy-opening-times-for-christmas-new-year-2016-17