PHARMACISTS are warning people across Sussex to get themselves prepared for winter.

The flu season this year is expected to be worse than normal, meaning thousands of people are at risk.

It is believed the virus will be more prevalent following the worst outbreak in many years in Australia and New Zealand.

The winter flu season in the southern hemisphere is usually a pointer to the pressures due to be faced in the northern hemisphere.

Community pharmacies do more than just dispense medicines.

They can offer a whole range of services and can be particularly helpful as the county moves into the winter and GPs and hospitals become busier.

Sussex Community Pharmacy engagement officer Penny Woodgate said: “This winter pharmacies are going to be needed more than ever.

“We are the first port of call for many people on healthcare matters and our regular patients and the wider community really rely on us.

“This is particularly the case over the winter months with coughs, colds and flu all becoming more common, and GP practices and hospitals already working flat out.

“As well as making sure everyone has the medicines they need this winter we’ll be helping people to understand and make the most of those medicines.

“We can also offer advice on common ailments.

“Pharmacies can vaccinate people against flu if they are eligible for a free NHS jab.

“Also, all of this is available without the need to wait for an appointment.”

Most pharmacies now have consultation rooms where people can talk without being overheard.

Pharmacies also offer personalised medicines advice, help to give up smoking and to maintain good sexual health, treatment for common ailments, and advice on preventing disease.

To find out which community pharmacies are nearby and what services they offer, visit