Is Your Medicine Cabinet Winter Ready?

Mon 14th December 2020


AS we approach winter, the NHS sees more ailments and illnesses that can be easily treated at home with the aid of some advice (see and a range of medicines you can buy.


What medicines should I keep at home?

Here are some of the medicines that you should keep in your medicine cabinet. You should also keep a well-prepared first aid kit as this can help to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises and it can reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected.



  • Always follow the direction on medicine packets and information leaflets
  • Never exceed the stated dose
  • Always keep medicines out of sight and reach of children
  • Keep your medicine in a high and lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place


Key Medicines What it’s used for
Paracetamol and ibuprofen Effective at relieving most minor aches and pains such as headaches period pain, inflammation in arthritis and sprains. Not everyone can take ibuprofen so check the pack first
Oral rehydration salts (such as Dioralyte®)


Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make us lose water and essential minerals, and can lead to dehydration. If you have these symptoms and can’t continue your normal diet, oral rehydration salts can help to restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid and relieve discomfort and tiredness. They don’t fight the underlying cause of your illness, such as a virus or bacteria.
Antacids (comes in chewable tablets, or tablets that dissolve in water, or in liquid form) We normally over indulge during the festive period and this can bring stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind. A simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief
Key First Aid
Thermometer Digital thermometers that you put in your mouth produce very accurate readings. A thermometer placed under the arm is a good way to read a baby’s temperature
Antiseptic This can be used to clean cuts before they’re dressed. Most can treat a range of conditions, including insect stings, ulcers and pimples. Alcohol-free antiseptic wipes are useful to clean cuts
Eyewash solution This will help to wash out grit or dirt in the eyes
Bandages These can support injured limbs, such as fractures or sprains. They also apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated in hospital


A range of sizes, waterproof if possible. When applying a plaster you should clean and dry the wound before you put the plaster on. Plasters should be replaced every few hours
Sterile dressings Larger injuries should be covered with a sterile dressing to prevent infection until treatment can be given by a health professional
Medical tape This is used to secure dressings. It can also be used to tape an injured finger to an uninjured one, creating a makeshift splint
Tweezers For taking out splinters. If splinters are left in, they can cause discomfort and become infected


Managing common minor illnesses

There are some minor illnesses which we can all treat ourselves, but sometimes we don’t know how long they should last, or when to ask for help.

Here’s a handy list of some of the main illnesses, and what you can expect:

Illness Lasts on average What can you do to ease the symptoms
Middle-ear infection 4 days Have plenty of rest and drink lots of fluid

Ask a pharmacist to recommend medicines to help your symptoms

Fever is a sign the body is fighting infection and usually gets better by itself. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce fever

If symptoms persist, please contact your pharmacist or GP

Sore throat 7 days
Common cold 10 days
Sinusitis 18 days
Cough or bronchitis 21 days
Upset stomach, diarrhoea and vomiting 2 days

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