Common Illnesses

Many conditions get better on their own and can be treated successfully at home. Your chemist may be able to advise you about medicines you can buy.

Colds and ‘Flu

There is still no cure for the common cold. The symptoms - runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, a stuffy congested face and possibly fever and headache, are self limiting and will get better in about a week.
Lots of fluids and painkillers (like paracetamol) help to ease these symptoms, Rest, if you have a fever. Some people find decongestants helpful - steam is the cheapest and most effective.

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting is usually a short lived illness which is most commonly viral. You should seek advice within 12 hours if your baby or young child has sickness or diarrhoea. Your health visitor or doctor will be happy to advise over the phone and arrange to see you if necessary.
One treatment you can prepare at home is:

  • 1 pint boiled water + 2 small pinches of salt + 3 flat teaspoons sugar
  • Mix together and take 2 teaspoons of the cooled liquid every 10 minutes for at least 24 hours.
  • Or use Dioralyte or Rehydrat which you can buy at the chemist.

If symptoms don’t settle within 3 or 4 days you should seek advice.

Insect Bites and Stings

Normally need no treatment. Anti-histamine tablets or cream can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will relieve most symptoms.

Backache, Sprains and Strains

Most strains and sprains will respond to a few days rest and paracetamol tablets taken for the pain. Effective treatments are now available at the chemist without prescription.