Did you know there are over 85 million visits to community pharmacies in Ireland every year (IPU, 2017). While traditionally pharmacists are recognised for their core role of dispensing medications to the general public, the role has changed dramatically over the last 20 to 30 years. Pharmacists would now typically be the first port of call where members of the public are seeking advice on a range of healthcare issues such as:
- Quitting smoking
- General healthcare
One of the main responsibilities for a Pharmacist is to ensure the safe and appropriate use of medicines. We can advise you on the use of prescription medicines, such as when and how to take them, how to store them and possible side effects. In particular we watch carefully for possible interactions between different medications you might be taking and help with the disposal of unwanted medicines.
All Pharmacists are trained to recognise and treat many common illnesses, giving advice and, where appropriate, over the counter medicines that will help clear up the problem. Increasingly, as a Pharmacist, I would notice an increase in consultations for minor ailments, which helps to alleviate the pressure on GP and A&E services. The benefits of consulting the Pharmacist first is that there is no need to book, you simply walk in and ask me a question. If your question is sensitive, then we have a private consultation room where you can speak to us in private, if you so wish.
Minor ailments that I would regularly be asked about include the following:
- Mild skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, athlete’s foot
- Flu, coughs and colds, including blocked nose and sore throats
- Bruises, sunburn and minor burns and scalds
- Constipation and piles (haemorrhoids)
- Hay fever, dry eyes and allergies (including rashes, bites and stings)
- Aches and pains, including earache, headache, migraine, back pain and toothache
- Vomiting, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhoea and threadworms
- Period pain, thrush and cystitis
- Head lice (nits)
- Conjunctivitis, cold sores and mouth ulcers
- Warts and verrucas
- Nappy rash and teething
In addition to over the counter ailments, we provide a whole range of services to help you with your healthcare needs:
You can be screened for the following conditions:
- Blood pressure for hypertension
- Blood sugars for diabetes
- Inhaler technique
- Body mass index (BMI)
- Smoking cessation services
Pharmacists also act as a signpost to guide you to other healthcare professionals, if required.
What do Pharmacists do with a prescription?
Pharmacists do more than just count tablets. When a prescription is given in at the counter, your Pharmacist must make sure that:
- The medicine, the dose and the instructions are right for you
- The medicine will not react with anything else that you are taking
- Your doctor is contacted if there are any concerns with any of the above
- You are informed of any significant side effects
- Your individual medicines record is updated and maintained