What medicine should I keep at home?

Even minor illness and ailments – such as colds, headaches or diarrhoea – can disrupt your life and make you feel grotty.

You can be prepared for most common winter ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home and feel better in a couple of days without the need to see a doctor.


  • 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 medicines in a high and lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place

Here are some of the medicines that we recommend 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 can reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected.

Medicine or first aidWhat 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..
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 cause stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind. A simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief.
BandagesThese can support injured limbs, such as fractures or sprains and can also be used to apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated in hospital.
PlastersA range of sizes, waterproof if possible. You should clean and dry the wound before you apply the plaster.
ThermometerDigital 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.
AntisepticThis can be used to clean cuts before they’re dressed. Most can treat a range of conditions, including insect stings. Alcohol-free antiseptic wipes are useful to clean cuts.
Eyewash solutionThis will help to wash out grit or dirt in the eyes.
Sterile dressingsLarger injuries should be covered with a sterile dressing to prevent infection until treatment can be given by a health professional.
Medical tapeThis is used to secure dressings. It can also be used to tape an injured finger to an uninjured one, creating a makeshift splint.
TweezersFor taking out splinters. If splinters are left in, they can cause discomfort and become infected.