What's a Minor Ailment and how can my pharmacist help?

Your Pharmacist is the most accessible and trusted health care professionals and that accessibility means you can get help for minor health issues that require timely treatment.

Saskatchewan pharmacists can advise and are trained to prescribe medications for a growing list of minor health issues. In 2011, the laws in Saskatchewan were changed to allow pharmacists to issue prescriptions under certain circumstances where they are trained to do so. You can find more questions and answers specific to this subject in our page My Pharmacist can prescribe?

What is a minor ailment?

A minor ailment is generally a condition that is less serious for which you can look after yourself and may not need to see your doctor. For some ailments, your pharmacist can provide you with a limited course of treatment with a prescription drug that may be more effective than an over-the-counter medication.

Minor ailments, besides being less serious, can also be self-limiting meaning that they only last for a short period of time. Many medications and remedies are available to you over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription to help you treat these ailments yourself. Your pharmacist can continue to help you with selecting the most appropriate remedy or medication and is able to provide prescription drugs for some ailments such as:

  • mild acne
  • hay fever, seasonal allergies
  • cold sores
  • diaper rash
  • insect bites
  • canker sores
  • oral thrush
  • painful periods
  • acid reflux
  • headaches
  • hemorrhoids
  • muscle strains and sprains
  • bacterial skin infections
  • athlete's foot, ring worm, groin itch
  • emergency contraception
  • birth control 
  • bladder infections (urinary tract infections)

Over-the-counter remedies you have tried do not help. Your pharmacist will help you assess your need for relief and may be able to provide a prescription drug that is a better option for you.

Is my doctor informed?

When your pharmacist prescribes a drug for a minor ailment for you, s/he will let your doctor know. 

What if I don't have a doctor?

For minor health issues, if the condition and treatment required is within pharmacists' prescribing limits, your pharmacist can prescribe medications if you do not have a family doctor.

This service is intended to improve access to health care.

What happens if the minor ailment turns out to be more serious?

Your pharmacist will work with you to determine the success of the treatment. If for example the drug does not work as well as it is supposed to or your condition is more serious, your pharmacist will refer you to your doctor.