Many urgent health needs can benefit from self care.
Be prepared for common health problems by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.
Painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin, are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and period pain.
These medicines also help with some minor illnesses, such as the common cold, by reducing aches, pain and high temperatures.
Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin also help reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis and sprains.
Bear in mind:
Antihistamines are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites. They're also helpful if you have hay fever.
Antihistamines can come in the form of creams you apply to the skin (topical antihistamine) or tablets you swallow (oral antihistamine).
Antihistamine creams soothe insect stings and bites, and rashes and itching from stinging nettles.
Antihistamine tablets help control hay fever symptoms and calm minor allergic reactions to food. They can also help calm itchiness during chickenpox.
Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness. Ask a pharmacist about this as there are some antihistamines that do not cause drowsiness.
A high temperature, diarrhoea and being sick make you lose water and essential minerals, and can lead to dehydration.
Oral rehydration salts, available at pharmacies, are an easy way to help restore your body's natural balance of fluid and minerals, and help your recovery.
But they do not fight the cause of your illness, such as a virus or bacteria.
Diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning. It's a good idea to keep an anti-diarrhoea medicine at home.
Anti-diarrhoea remedies can quickly control diarrhoea, but they do not deal with the underlying cause.
The most common anti-diarrhoea medicine is loperamide, sold under the names Imodium, Arret and Diasorb, among others. It works by slowing down the action of your digestive system.
Do not give anti-diarrhoea medicines to children under 12 as they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to a GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.
If you have stomach ache or heartburn, medicine called antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief.
Antacids come as chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in water, or in liquid form.
Keep a sun lotion of at least factor 30. Even fairly brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer. Ensure your suncreen provides UVA protection.
You can also protect yourself against the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses, and by avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm.
A well-prepared first aid kit can help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises, and reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected.
It should contain the following items:
Remember that a pharmacist can also help with many health conditions, such as coughs, colds, asthma, eczema, hay fever and period pain.
They can give advice or, where appropriate, medicines that can help clear up the problem.
Instead of booking an appointment with a GP, you can see a pharmacist any time – just walk in.