My Winter - Community Pharmacist Colin Dougall

How I prepare for winter

The first step I take in preparing for winter is to check my car is in good working order. I do these checks before any signs of cold or wintery weather. As I drive to work, I pack a shovel, snacks and water in the car if I know snow is forecast. This means I’m prepared if I’m unlucky enough to get stuck in my car. I also pack my snow boots or wellies, this way I can walk to my destination if necessary. If it’s a snowy or icy day, I make sure I set off earlier and I’m prepared.

How I check the forecast

At my pharmacy, when the weather is bad, we make sure to check the weather several times a day, sometimes using the radio or using weather apps. We find the apps particularly useful for predicting weather conditions and helping us prepare for worse weather.

Winter weather risks and challenges

Winter can be difficult for everyone. It can make it difficult to travel to work for staff and patients might struggle to get to our pharmacy to pick up their medicines. In weather that’s snowy and icy, it means people might be at risk of falls or injuries.

Last winter, when roads were blocked with snow it was really difficult to travel and made it a challenge to deliver prescriptions to our elderly or otherwise housebound patients. The delivery driver, and some pharmacy staff, had to deliver the prescriptions on foot so our patients didn’t run out of their medicines.

Plan ahead so you don't run out of medicine

We always encourage our patients to make sure they have enough of their medicine if bad weather is forecast to check they have a stock of their medications, to make sure they don’t run out and have some on hand if they’re ill so they don’t have to go out.

Why it's worth coming to see a pharmacist

When flu is widespread in the winter months, many of our patients come in to the pharmacy for advice on how they can treat themselves. The advantage of attending a pharmacy first is that you don’t need an appointment to get professional advice on symptoms you may have. Also, a pharmacist can usually recommend treatments to help ease your symptoms. We will always ensure that any treatment we advise is appropriate for our patients, depending on any other medical conditions or medication they may be taking for other conditions.

With thanks to LloydsPharmacy.