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Pharmacy the first port of call for sore throats this winter

Green Cross Health is introducing a free sore throat screening service in Unichem and Life pharmacies nationwide to help triage patients for viral or bacterial throat infections

24 June 2019, Auckland: Green Cross Health is launching a throat screening service at Unichem and Life pharmacies nationwide, which will be free for a limited time this winter. The service will indicate whether someone with a sore throat has a viral or bacterial infection, giving patients greater certainty about their health.

“Our research tells us that sore throats are very common, with almost 70 per cent of Kiwis reporting that they will get a sore throat once or twice a year,” says Lauren Kilkolly, Professional Services Manager at Green Cross Health.

Those suffering from a sore throat say that it affects sleeping, eating, socialising, exercising and going to work. Heading to a GP for antibiotics is common, but antibiotics can only help with bacterial infections and eight out of 10 sore throats in adults are because of a virus.

“When we are feeling under the weather, many of us head straight to the doctor for antibiotics, but this is an unnecessary cost and will lead to a wider health concern. The overuse of antibiotics can adversely impact the effectiveness of antibiotics long term. The more they are prescribed, the more resistant bacteria will become.”

The sore throat consultation service will take 10 minutes and be administered by a pharmacist who will help indicate whether the infection is viral or bacterial. If the infection is viral, pharmacists will be able to assist customers to alleviate the symptoms using a wide range of cold and immunity boosting products. If the test result shows that the infection is bacterial, the patient will be referred to a GP.

“Our pharmacists are highly trained to help customers find solutions when they are feeling under the weather and are happy to provide a GP referral when needed.

“We do always recommend that if your symptoms get worse or there is no improvement after three days, to visit your GP,” says Kilkolly.

The throat screening service will be available at most Unichem and Life pharmacies from 24 June 2019, and is free for a limited time only.


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