Self care

Treat yourself at home

You may be able to save a trip to the surgery by treating yourself at home.

The NHS website has guidance for how to treat yourself if you have:

Medicines to keep at home

It's a good idea to keep the following at home:

  • paracetamol and aspirin - children under 16 and people with asthma should not take aspirin
  • mild laxatives
  • anti-diarrhoea medicines
  • rehydration mixture
  • indigestion remedy - for example, antacids
  • travel sickness tablets
  • sunscreen – SPF15 or higher
  • sunburn treatment - for example, calamine
  • tweezers and sharp scissors
  • a thermometer
  • a selection of plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings


Remember to:

  • keep the medicine in a secure, locked place out of reach of small children
  • read the instructions and use the suggested dose
  • watch expiry dates – do not keep or use medicines past their sell-by date
  • take all unwanted and out-of-date medicines back to the pharmacy

See a pharmacist

Pharmacists can offer professional advice and over the counter medicine for minor illnesses, for example:

  • coughs
  • colds
  • sore throats
  • tummy trouble
  • aches and pains

If it turns out to be more serious, pharmacists can make sure you get the help you need. This may include seeing a GP or nurse.

Read the NHS website guidance on how your pharmacy can help.


A lot of people visit their GP for a respiratory tract infection, for example a sinus, throat or chest infection.

These are usually caused by viruses, which means antibiotics are not needed.

These infections will normally clear up by looking after yourself at home with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol.

Read the NHS website guidance about antibiotics.