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Medication for minor ailments

Starting January 1, 2023, patients across Ontario can visit their local pharmacist to assess and prescribe medication for minor conditions, such as pink eye, eczema, and urinary tract infections. These conditions are called minor ailments. They are common, uncomplicated, and short-term health conditions that can be diagnosed and managed with minimal treatment and self-care at home.

Conditions that can be prescribed for include:


(Allergic Rhinitis)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Sneezing

  • Stuffy nose or runny nose

  • Itchy nose, eye, or throat

  • Typically, more than 7 days of continuous symptoms



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • White or creamy-white spots / patches on the lips, inside of mouth, tongue and / or the roof of the mouth

  • Cottage cheese-like appearance

  • Patches can be scraped off

  • Dry mouth and / or loss of taste



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Eye redness and difficulty opening eyes in the morning

  • Appearance of sticky or watery fluids from the eye

  • Mild scratching, itching, or burning sensation

  • Bright lights hurt your eyes


(Atopic, Eczema)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Dry, red, and itchy skin

  • Cracked and oozed blisters

  • Darker or lighter patches of skin

  • Scaly and patchy skin



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Pain and cramps in the lower abdominal area

  • Pain in the lower back and starting a few hours before onset of a period

  • Pain can last a few hours to days



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Burping / stomach acid rise from the stomach into the mouth

  • Burning feeling in the stomach or lower chest rising to the neck

  • Trouble getting a good night's sleep because of heartburn

  • Pain in the middle of the upper stomach area

  • Nausea



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Itching, burning or swollen (with or without pain) around the anal / rectum area

  • Bright red blood during / after bowel movement

  • Constipation and difficulty in having a bowel movement

  • Presence of a lump in the anal / rectum area



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Rash or bump around border of the lip

  • Presence of clear, sticky fluid around the rash

  • Itching, tingling, or burning may lead to the rash

  • Redness or inflamed skin around the rash



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Bump that changes into a blister surrounded by rash

  • Yellow discharge that dries to form a "golden" or "honey-colored" crust

  • Can affect face, arms or legs



You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Small bump or blister. May feel pain, itching, redness or swelling.

  • Feeling of a sharp burning pain which can sting


(Urinary Tract Infections)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Frequent urination, pain while urinating and difficulty holding in urine

  • Pain in lower abdomen and a small amount of blood in the urine

  • Absence of vaginal discharge

  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

NOTE: Pharmacists can only assess and prescribe for Females.

Vaginal Yeast Infection (Vaginal Candidiasis)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance

  • Itching, burning and pain during urination and/or sexual intercourse

  • Rash and redness of vaginal area


(Prevention of Lyme Disease)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Tick bite by black-legged tick

  • A red lump present, but swelling, blistering, bruising, itching or other infections may develop

  • Mild allergic reaction (hives, rash, and light swelling at the bite site)


(Sprains and Strains)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Pain, swelling or tenderness (light to medium)

  • Redness or bruising

  • Limited motion and muscle weakness

  • Injury is associated with overworking or muscle / joint injured



To obtain a Paxlovid prescription, please review the steps below:

  • You must have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Determine your eligibility to receive a Paxlovid prescription. Please visit the government of Ontario website HERE for eligibility details.

  • Book a virtual appointment or a phone consultation to get assessed by a Pharmacist and receive a prescription for Paxlovid.

  • Your Pharmacy team will coordinate with you how to receive the prescription.

Morning Sickness (Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Nausea or vomiting at any time of the day due to pregnancy 

  • Not able to keep food or drink down for more than 12 hours

Acne (Mild)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Presence of whiteheads and blackheads

  • Small red bumps and pimples with pus

  • Less than 30 total bumps/pimples and not all are inflamed (red in appearance)

Diaper Rash (Diaper Dermatitis)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Rashes and redness around the diaper area of babies and toddlers for more than 3 days.

  • Pain and crying while urinating, diaper changes and during defecating.

  • Can affect the sleep pattern

Canker sores (Oral Aphthous Ulcer)

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Painful and shallow White- or cream-coloured ulcers with a raised red border that are round or oval

  • Presence of ulcers inside cheeks, lips, sides of tongue, roof, and floor of the mouth

  • Less than 1cm in diameter

Threadworms and Pinworms

You may experience some of the symptoms below:

  • Detection of worms in stool or near anus

  • Anal itching, especially at night

  • Restless sleep

  • There may be itching in your vaginal area if adult worms move there

  • Feeling irritable and having trouble concentrating

  • Abdominal pain that comes and goes


  • What is a Minor Ailment?
    Minor illnesses are described as health conditions that can be managed with minimal treatment and/or self-care strategies. Additional criteria include: Usually a short-term condition Lab results aren’t usually required Low risk of treatment masking an underlying condition No medication or medical history red flags that could suggest a more serious condition Only minimal or short-term follow-up is required
  • How can my pharmacist help with a minor ailment?
    Pharmacists can assess and prescribe a prescription level medication when necessary rather than recommending a milder over- the-counter treatment for specific, less serious conditions, as outlined by the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
  • Which specific minor ailments can my pharmacist assess and prescribe medications for?
    Minor, or common, illnesses refer to conditions that can initially be managed with non-prescription therapy, such as allergies or skin irritations. All pharmacists can assess minor illnesses symptoms and recommend self-care or over-the-counter treatments. Pharmacists in Ontario can now also prescribe medications for certain minor illnesses, as identified below: Allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) Candidal stomatitis (oral thrush) Conjunctivitis (pink eye, bacterial, allergic and viral) Dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact) Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, heartburn) Hemorrhoids Herpes labialis (cold sores) Impetigo Insect bites and urticaria (hives) Tick bites, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease Musculoskeletal sprains and strains Urinary tract infections (uncomplicated)
  • Do I need an appointment?
    No, you don’t need to make an appointment to speak with your pharmacist. If our store is open, you can consult with the pharmacist. We’re accessible and ready to see you.
  • Do I have to pay for an assessment and prescription for minor ailments?
    Assessment and prescribing for minor illnesses are covered by Ontario's Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). To be eligible for this service, you’d need to have a valid Ontario Health Number.
  • Will a Minor Ailments assessment always result in a prescription?
    After the pharmacist assesses a patient they, in conjunction with the patient, determine the appropriate course of action. This could be a prescription or a recommendation for an over-the-counter medication. If a pharmacist assesses your condition but feels it is serious or requires follow-up, he or she will refer you to a doctor for additional assessment.
  • Will my doctor be informed?
    Yes. Pharmacists are required to inform your primary physician when they write a prescription for you.
  • What if I do not have a doctor, can a pharmacist still prescribe for minor ailments?
    Yes. If the condition and treatment required are within pharmacists' prescribing limits, you may still receive treatment even if you do not have a doctor. This service is intended to improve access to health care.
  • What happens if my minor ailment turns out to be more serious?
    If your illness becomes more serious or you are not seeing improvements with the medication prescribed by your pharmacist, you will be referred to your doctor for a diagnosis. Your pharmacist is trained to recognize when an illness requires additional assessment and care beyond their scope.


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