Help Yourself Treat Minor Ailments

You can help prevent minor illnesses and ailments such as coughs, colds, headaches and diarrhoea from striking you down by making sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home . Some essential medicines to help you deal with many minor short term ailments are:

  • Pain relief – paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets are effective painkillers that can help the odd headache, any minor aches or pains (such as a pulled muscle) as well as ease fever or cold and flu symptoms. Ibuprofen is also an anti-inflammatory which can help. But remember, if you take ibuprofen, take it with, or after, food and not on an empty stomach.
  • Indigestion – for stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, antacids will bring you relief. These come in different forms such as chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in water or in a liquid form.
  • Diarrhoea – the anti-diarrhoea remedy, loperamide, can help control the unpleasant symptoms. Don’t give anti-diarrhoea medicine to children under 12 because they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.
  • Upset stomach and dehydration – oral rehydration salt sachets can help prevent dehydration from bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. They help restore the body’s balance of minerals and fluids.
  • Blocked nose – menthol and eucalyptus inhalations can help to ease the nasal congestion that comes with coughs and colds.

To help you treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises then make sure you have a first aid kit at home which includes:

  • Plasters – of varying sizes.
  • Tweezers – for removing splinters.
  • Antiseptic – can be used to clean cuts before they’re dressed (bandaged) and help to treat a range of other minor conditions including insect stings, ulcers and pimples.  Alcohol-free antiseptic wipes are also useful to clean cuts.
  • Surgical tape and dressings – useful for treating minor scrapes and cuts.
  • 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 or young child’s temperature.
  • Eyewash solution – this will help wash out grit or dirt causing irritation in the eyes.