Medicine cabinet

Make sure your Medicine Cabinet is Fit and Healthy

Stock up your medicine cabinet and be prepared to treat yourself and your family for common ailments.

Pain Relief

Painkillers (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and period pain. They can also help with minor conditions such as the common cold by reducing high temperatures. Ibuprofen must be taken with caution if you have certain conditions, such as asthma. Ibuprofen should not be taken in pregnancy. Always check with your pharmacist if in doubt.


These are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites. They're also helpful if you have hay fever. Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness but your pharmacist can advise you on non-drowsy antihistamines.

Oral Rehydration Sachets

These are an easy way to help restore your body's natural balance of minerals and fluid, and help your recovery from conditions such as fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with diarrhoea. These medicines do not fight the cause of your illness however they are intended to rehydrate and replace lost water and body salts to help you feel better quicker.

Antiseptic cream (for bites and stings)

Insect bites or stings are not usually serious and get better in a few days. Antiseptic creams can be used to help relieve itching and prevent infection. You can often treat an insect bite or sting without seeing a GP.

Anti-diarrhoea Medicines

Anti-diarrhoea medicines can quickly control the symptoms of diarrhoea, although they don't deal with the underlying cause. Don't give anti-diarrhoeals to children under 12 because they may have side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.

Indigestion Treatment

If you have stomach ache or heartburn, indigestion treatments will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief. Antacids come as chewable tablets, dissolvable tablets, or in a liquid.


Keep a sun lotion of at least factor 30. Even fairly brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer. Ensure your sunscreen provides UVA protection.

First Aid Kit

A well-prepared first aid kit can treat a whole range of minor ailments. It should include; bandages, plasters, antiseptic, thermometer, sterile dressings, medical tape, tweezers and eyewash solution.

Why Self Care is important

Support your local NHS: Last year Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spent over £1 million on medicines which can be bought over-the-counter. This could fun 10 GPs or 33 specialist nurses.

Start to get better quicker. There's no need to wait for an appointment, and no need to wait for a prescription to be dispensed. Start treatment straight away, and get better quicker.

Every year in the UK there are an estimated 57 million GP appointments for self treatable conditions. If we look after ourselves for minor conditions it will help to free up GP time and make it easier to get an appointment when we really need one.

Further information and support

Your local pharmacist can support you in treating minor health conditions/common ailments. Just call in, no appointment necessary.

Call NHS 111 for non-emergency advice.

Visit for information and advice on treating minor health conditions.

Use the NHS App to check symptoms and more.

Contact your GP if your symptoms do not improve.

Medicine safety

When keeping medicines at home, remember: 

Always follow the instructions on medicine packets and information leaflets, and never take more than the stated dose.

Always keep medicines out of sight and reach of children -  high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place is ideal.

Regularly check the expiry dates on a medicine - if a medicine is past its expiry date, don't use it or throw it away. Take it to your pharmacy where it can be disposed of safely.

If you have any questions about any medicines just ask your local pharmacist.

Back to 'Looking after yourself'

Page last updated 15 August 2023