Many minor illnesses and injuries can be cared for at home, with no need to visit your GP. There are many ways you can access expert advice from home on how to manage feeling unwell.


The NHS website has clinical advice on the symptoms and treatment for hundreds of common illnesses.

Ask a pharmacist

Remember that your local pharmacist is a trained medical professional who can advise you on the right medicine to help with many ailments, such as sore throats, colds, asthma, eczema, hay fever, period pain and diarrhea and vomiting.

Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet

Be prepared for common illnesses and injuries by keeping your medicine cabinet stocked (pdf, 3.4MB) with these items all year round.

Stock up your medicine cabinet graphic


First aid kit

A well-prepared first aid kit can help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises, and reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected. Make sure your first aid kit has:

  • Bandages
  • Plasters
  • A thermometer
  • Antiseptic
  • Eyewash solution
  • Sterile dressings
  • Medical tape
  • Tweezers

Over-the-counter medicines

In 2017, new guidance was introduced so that medicines that are readily available over-the-counter - including pain relief and some hayfever medications - are no longer routinely prescribed. Since then, the NHS has reduced its annual spend from £569 million per year to £248 million per year on these products, enabling reinvestment in other essential services.

You can find out more about what this means by reading this patient information leaflet (pdf, 312KB) and these frequently asked questions about over-the-counter medicines (pdf, 135KB).