HALTON residents are being encouraged to discover their pharmacy and to use their health experts on the high street this winter for advice and help on minor illnesses.

This is the message behind Ask Your Pharmacist Week from which runs until November 13.

Pharmacists are highly qualified health care professionals, training for five years to become experts in medicines and give health and wellbeing advice.

Modern pharmacists can offer quick, confidential advice on a range of common illnesses.

People can always talk to pharmacists in complete confidence, even about the most personal symptoms - either in person or over the phone, and if you’d like a bit of privacy, most pharmacies also have a private consultation area where you can talk without being overheard by anyone.

They are often open during evenings and at weekends when other health service may be closed and are easy to get to with many in rural areas, towns and supermarkets and an appointment is not necessary.

Dr Kieran Murphy, medical director for NHS England in Cheshire and Merseyside said: “Your local pharmacy can help you with more than you might think. Pharmacists offer expert, confidential advice and treatment for many minor health problems.

“It’s been highly publicised that antibiotics don’t work on common coughs and colds but remedies to help ease the symptoms are available at all pharmacies.

“If you’re not sure what to take, they can help you, particularly if you’re already on medication.”

For information on how to find your nearest pharmacist visit www.nhs.uk.