During the winter months, the demand for NHS services increases significantly as cold weather means there are more slips, trips and injuries. Generally more of us feel unwell during the winter as we spend more time indoors and coughs and colds are passed around our family, friends and colleagues at work.
This all adds up to more of us having an accident or becoming unwell with a winter bug, meaning more people want to see their GP, attend accident and emergency or call 999.
Most normally healthy people with a winter illness do not need to see their GP, attend A&E or need to call 999.
Remember colds, sore throats, head-aches, hangovers, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains, and winter vomiting should all be treated at home or with the advice of your local pharmacist, with pain killers, rest and plenty of fluids.
What should I keep in my medicine cabinet at home?
Medicine or first aid
What 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 sometimes over indulge during the festive period and this can bring stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind. A simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief.
First aid kit:
These are some of the main items that should be in your first aid kit.
If you have small children - you should keep a thermometer and children's paracetamol handy, and take with you if you take trips or breaks away.