Treating minor illnesses and injuries

Mother and child at home

Many everyday illnesses and injuries such as coughs, colds, stings, diarrhoea and sickness bugs can be best and most quickly treated at home. The NHS website provides lots of advice on common symptoms, illnesses and injuries as well as information on the support available to you when you are feeling unwell. 

Your medicine cabinet

It is really important to ensure you have the right medicines at hand so if you do fall ill you can get better without delay. Keeping commonly needed medicines at home will help you be prepared to look after yourself and your family.

What should a well stocked medicine cabinet look like?

To treat minor ailments at home your medicine cabinet should contain:

  • Infant medicines (vital for cooling down a hot child or relieving pain)
  • Paracetamol, Ibruprofen, Asprin (for headaches, earaches, muscular pain and general aches and pains)
  • Prescription medication (especially if you have a long term condition)
  • Cough and cold remedies (decongestants, cough medicine, lozenges and pain killers)
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets to treat diarrhoea and rehydration drinks (in case of sickness bugs or viruses)
  • Indigestion treatment for relief if stomach aches, heartburn or trapped wind
  • Antihistamines for allergies, insect bites and hay fever.

Your first aid kit should contain:

  • bandages
  • plasters
  • thermometer
  • antiseptic
  • tweezers
  • eyewash solution
  • sterile dressings
  • medical tape

Top tips - safety first

  • Keep all medicines in a safe place and well out of the reach of children
  • Always follow the directions on medicine packets and information leaflets, and never take more than the stated dose
  • Medicines have use-by dates and should be checked regularly to make sure that they are still in date.
  • If a medicine is past its use-by date, don't use it or throw it away. Take it to your pharmacy, where it can be disposed of safely.

Need advice?

Your local pharmacy can also let you know what you should keep in your medicine cabinet to look after yourself and your family at home.