5 common ailments you can treat at the pharmacy

When a condition feels like “not that big of a deal,” it can discourage us from getting treatment, especially if that means waiting a few days to see your doctor. But that’s a mistake – even when an illness seems minor, it still deserves care.

Your treatment options also just got wider: Ontario pharmacists are now able to offer OHIPcovered assessments and treatments for a variety of minor illnesses. Here are just a few examples:

Allergies
The itching, sneezing and runny noses plaguing people suffering from allergies are just their immune systems kicking into overdrive. In more severe cases, the allergic reaction can include shortness of breath, coughing or even vomiting. While there are many over-the-counter allergy medications available at your pharmacy, your pharmacist can now prescribe stronger treatments if needed.

Urinary tract infections
UTIs affect one in every two women in Canada, though they can happen to anyone. Often UTIs are treated with an antibiotic, and before 2023 only a doctor or nurse practitioner could prescribe them. Now you can get a diagnosis and the antibiotic prescription from your pharmacist.

Cold sores
Cold sores are not dangerous but can be irritating or embarrassing – and they’re contagious. They spread skin to skin, even when sores aren’t visible. They often go away on their own in a couple of weeks, but there are highly effective antivirals you can take orally or apply to the sores to get rid of them much faster.

Painful periods
This is one of the most common conditions in gynecology, affecting as many as 90 per cent of people with periods. The pain is caused when a cramping uterus presses on the blood vessels around it. When that happens, it can limit oxygen to surrounding muscles, which causes pain. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available, both prescription and over the counter, that your pharmacist can recommend.

Hemorrhoids
From a bit itchy to incredibly painful, hemorrhoids can range in severity. Drinking water, getting enough exercise and eating a diet high in fibre can prevent and improve the condition, but you can also connect with your pharmacist for assessment – there are various creams and treatments they can prescribe or recommend.

Now, you don’t need to make a doctor’s appointment or visit a walk-in clinic to get treated for many of the health issues you deal with the most. Talk to your local pharmacist to take advantage of these new services. They’re also available at all Rexall pharmacies. Find out more at rexall.ca/prescribing.

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