Keep niggling cold weather illnesses at bay with well-stocked medicine cabinet

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can be the best first line of defence against niggling cold weather illnesses, many of which are expected to become more common over the coming weeks.

Minor seasonal ailments, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs, are usually more prevalent during the colder months of the year, due in part to people spending more time indoors in close proximity to others, often with doors and windows closed.

Some people may also feel the effects of these minor winter illnesses more this year as natural immunity may have dipped during the national lockdown which stopped people from socialising for most of last winter.

Staying well throughout the autumn and winter can be made easier by keeping a supply of over-the-counter medicines in the home. 

Painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin, can help with colds and flu by reducing aches, pains and high temperatures.

Other medicine cabinet staples, such as oral rehydration salts, which can help prevent dehydration after a bout of sickness and diarrhoea, and antihistamines, which can sooth painful insect bites, also have a vital role to play.  

Dr Ruth Grabham, GP and ICB Medical Director, said: “This year, perhaps more than ever, we have seen people take extra notice of their health and wellbeing, with millions coming forward to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

“And while this offers protection against a virus that has caused so much disruption in recent times, it doesn’t make us immune to those illnesses that have always been around.

“As a clinician, I’m expecting to begin seeing more people coming down with non-covid-related conditions, but the good thing is that most, if not all, can be safely managed at home through rest and using products found inside the average home’s medicine cabinet.

“It’s really important that we all do everything we can to keep well this winter, so I’d also strongly encourage people to have the Covid-19 booster vaccine, if eligible, and the flu jab, especially as flu strains vary from year to year and previous vaccinations may now be ineffective to what is currently going around.”

Anti-diarrhoea tablets, cough medicine and digital thermometers are also handy items that people should consider having in their homes.

For when a problem cannot be managed at home, people should seek help and advice from a local pharmacy or the NHS 111 service, which is available online or over the phone.

Further details about self-care can be found online at, while information on local health and care services is available at