Pharmacies step up support for allergy sufferers

  • 25 April 2022

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Local community pharmacies are stepping up their support for hay fever sufferers, with some previously prescription-only allergy medication now being offered on an over-the-counter basis.

The changes aim to make it easier for people with severe hay fever symptoms to get the help they need without having to make a GP appointment or go to an urgent care service.

Dr Shaba Nabi, local GP and Clinical Lead for Prescribing at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

Each year, many GP practices and even A&E departments, see people attending with persistent hay fever symptoms.

This year, we want to make it as quick and easy as possible for people to access the right support at the right time. That’s why we’ve made changes in our primary care services, with community pharmacies now able to provide hay fever medicines that were previously available on a prescription only basis.

The changes will make it easier for people to get specialist support at short notice, while freeing up GP appointments and reducing unnecessary attendances to urgent and emergency healthcare services.

Ade Williams, Superintendent Pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy in Bristol, said:

Across the UK, more than one in four people are affected by hay fever. While it is nothing more than a nuisance for most people, it can be really troublesome for others – preventing you from enjoying the outdoors.

There are steps you can take to ease the negative symptoms of hay fever. Such as putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen and showering and changing clothes after you’ve been outside to wash the pollen off.

If you often experience mild symptoms of hay fever, you can buy medicines like antihistamine tablets, eye drops or nasal sprays from a pharmacy or some other shops to help ease symptoms. If these don’t work, your local community pharmacist will be able to provide advice and guidance on a wider range of medicines previously only available on prescription.

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