PEOPLE are being advised to check with their local pharmacist before visiting their doctor with flu-like symptoms.
The warning comes following the outbreak nationally of "autumn flu", which has affected about three million people.
The National Pharmaceutical Association, which represents the nation's community pharmacists, says the latest bug is not as bad as full-blown flu, but worse than the common cold.
Symptoms include a sore throat, bunged up or runny nose and chest congestion.
The virus lasts much longer than normal flu, with some patients suffering two or three weeks instead of a few days.
John D'Arcy, NPA chief executive, said if people succumbed to a bad cold or the latest flu bug they should check with their local pharmacist before buying or taking any over-the-counter medicines.
Mirfield community pharmacist Gill Hawksworth, this year's president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said pharmacists could make sure people got the necessary advice on medication and dosage before referring them to their own GP if necessary.