Self care at home

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Many minor illness and ailments can be treated at home through self care. 
Follow our self care at home tips and advice so you can keep well throughout the year

Stock up on these useful treatments at home

Most can be bought through your local supermarket or pharmacy.


Useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites. They’re also helpful if you have hay fever.

Indigestion treatment – to help with

An upset stomach, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief.

Oral rehydration salts

Help to restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid.

Pain relief

Painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and menstrual pain. Aspirin must not be given to children under 16.


Keep a lotion of at least factor 15. Even brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer.

First aid kit

Help to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises. It can also help reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected.

Antiseptic wipes, bandages, plasters, eye wash solution, medical tape, sterile dressings.  Having a thermometer and Tweezers are useful too.

How to treat Flu yourself

If you have flu, there are some things you can do to help get better more quickly.


  • rest and Sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

A pharmacist can help with flu

A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies.

Do not take paracetamol and flu remedies that contain paracetamol at the same time as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.

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GPs do not recommend antibiotics for flu because they will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.

Non-urgent advice: Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

You or your child have symptoms of flu and:

  • you’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms
  • you’re 65 or over
  • you’re pregnant
  • you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes or a condition that affects your heart, lungs, kidneys, brain or nerves
  • you have a weakened immune system – for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV
  • your symptoms do not improve after 7 days

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Non-urgent advice: Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if you:

  • get sudden chest pain
  • have difficulty breathing
  • start coughing up a lot of blood

If you have diarrhoea and vomiting

Diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning. Anti-diarrheal remedies can quickly control the symptoms of diarrhoea. Although they don’t deal with the underlying cause.

More advice is available here: Diarrhoea and vomiting – NHS (

If you are still not feeling well after a few days or if symptoms worsen, contact NHS 111.

Treating children under 12

Don’t give anti-diarrheal remedies to children under 12 because they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.

Help us stop the spread of norovirus

  • Do not book an appointment or visit a hospital as the virus may be contagious.
  • Treat yourself at home with an essential kit while the virus runs its course. Get advice for treating norovirus.

Self care advice videos

How to self care for itchy eyes caused by hay fever
How to self care for hives
How to self care for insect bites

Page last reviewed: 11 January 2024

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