Over the counter medication

It’s nice to enjoy a bit of sunshine, but this time of year can be dreaded by hayfever sufferers.

There seems to be a lot of people with the condition these days, but luckily there are a lot of remedies on the market.

While some brands can work out expensive - especially if you buy tablets, a nose spray and eye drops - there are lots of shops which stock inexpensive versions that work just as well.

Last month, the CCG approved plans for GPs to stop routinely prescribing medicines that could easily be bought over the counter, and cost less than a prescription.

Included in the list of ailments were things like indigestion and heartburn, coughs and colds, diarrhoea and…hayfever.

This decision is in line with national NHS guidelines and includes prescriptions for conditions that will heal of their own accord and/or conditions that can be treated at home without the need to see a GP.

So, if you suffer from hayfever you will be advised to try over the counter treatments first. If you need extra advice, then your local pharmacy can help.

Only if your allergic symptoms are severe and the treatment you’ve bought doesn’t work should you seek advice from your GP.

A month’s supply of cetirizine or loratadine (the most common treatment for hayfever) costs less than £2, compared to £9 for an NHS prescription.

A GP can use their discretion if there is a genuine reason why a patient can’t go down the self-care route for financial reasons or other exceptional circumstances.

This will help save the NHS precious funds and could free up a vital GP appointment for someone with a more serious condition.

If you are sneezing, have a dry cough and itchy eyes you could also try to wear sunglasses, change your clothes and shower to remove any pollen you come into contact with.

Let’s enjoy our Summer!

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