Choose well

Choose well

When you feel under the weather, deciding the best place to go for medical help can be tricky. On this page, you’ll find lots of information about the health services available to you and what they can help you with. By choosing well, it means you and your family will get treatment quickly and it will also allow busy NHS services, like A&E departments, to help the people who need them the most.
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Self care    >

Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries, such as:

  • Flu
  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Sore throats
  • Grazes
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea

You can treat a range of common illness and injuries at home with the help of a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

13 medicine cabinet essentials    >

1. Pain relief

Aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are very effective at relieving most minor aches and pains. They can also help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis or sprains.

Note: Aspirin must not be given to children under 16.

2. Antihistamines

Antihistamines deal with allergies and insect bites and are also helpful if you have hay fever. Antihistamines can come in the form of:

  • creams you apply to the skin – these soothe insect stings and bites and itching from stinging nettles
  • tablets you swallow- these help control hay fever symptoms and calm minor allergic reactions to food. They cal also help calm the itchiness associated with chickenpox

Note: Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness

3. Oral rehydration salts

When you have fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, you lose water and essential minerals, which can lead to dehydration. Oral rehydration salts help restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid, and relieve discomfort and tiredness.

Note: Oral  rehydration salts don’t fight the underlying cause of your illness, such as a virus or bacteria.

4. Anti-diarrhoea tablets

Diarrhoea can be caused by a number of reasons and it can happen without warning. Anti-diarrhoeal remedies can quickly control the unpleasant symptoms of diarrhoea, however it won’t treat the cause of the illness.

The most common anti-diarrhoeal is loperamide (sold under the brand names Imodium, Arret and Diasorb) and it works by slowing down the action of your gut.

Note: Don’t give anti-diarrhoeals to children under 12 because they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice.

5. Indigestion treatment

If you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and make you feel better. Antacids can come as chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in water or in liquid form.

6. Sunscreen

Even fairly brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer, so make sure you keep sunscreen with UVA protection that’s a least factor

7. Bandages 

Bandages help support injured limbs, such as a sprained wrist.

8. Waterproof plasters and sterile dressings

Plasters help cover minor cuts and grazes and will also prevent infection. Larger injuries should be covered with a sterile dressing.

9. Thermometer

Digital thermometers  you put in your mouth produce very accurate temperature readings; a thermometer placed under the arm is also a good way to read a baby or young child’s temperature.

10. Alcohol-free antiseptic

Antiseptic can be used to clean cuts before they’re bandaged and most can treat a range of conditions, including insect stings, ulcers and pimples.

11. Eyewash solution

Eyewash solution is really useful for removing grit or dirt in the eyes.

12. Medical tape

Medical tape has a range of uses, including securing dressings or bandages and making a makeshift splint for fingers by taping the injured finger to another finger.

13. Tweezers

Tweezers are very useful for taking out splinters, which can cause discomfort or infection if left in.

Pharmacists    >

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GP surgeries    >

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Minor injury units    >

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A&E departments    >

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