Stock up your medicine cabinet for the festive period

Residents in East Sussex are being reminded by the NHS to stock up on their medicines before the Christmas and New Year holidays start.

The message from health experts is to be prepared for common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. These top tips for what to include, recommended by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, will help deal with most minor ailments:

Pain relief

Painkillers like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and period pain.

These medicines also help with some minor ailments, such as the common cold, by reducing aches, pain and high temperatures.

Paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen also help reduce the inflammation seen in arthritis and sprains.

Bear in mind that aspirin mustn't be given to children under 16, ibuprofen must be taken with caution for those with certain conditions, and pregnant women shouldn't take ibuprofen.


These are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites. Antihistamines can come in the form of creams to 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

Oral rehydration salts

Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make people 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 minerals and fluid, and help your recovery. But they don't fight the cause of your illness, such as a virus or bacteria.

Anti-diarrhoea tablets

Diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning. 

Anti-diarrhoea remedies can quickly control the symptoms of diarrhoea, although they don't deal with the underlying cause. Don't give anti-diarrhoea medicines to children under 12 as they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.

Indigestion treatment

For those with stomach ache or heartburn, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief. Antacids come as chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in water, or in liquid form.

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.

It should contain the following items:

  • Bandages
  • Plasters 
  • Thermometer 
  • Antiseptic 
  • Eyewash solution 
  • Sterile dressings 
  • Medical tape 
  • Tweezers

Click here
to view our interactive guide to a well stocked medicine cabinet.

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