Every year, thousands of people visit their GP with an ailment they could have treated at home, or with the help of a pharmacist and over-the-counter medicines – and it costs the NHS more than £10 billion.

So what medical supplies should you have at home, ready in case of minor emergencies or slight illnesses?

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Pharmacist Steve Riley suggests the over-the-counter medicines you should have stashed in your medicine cabinet:

1. Painkillers

“Paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and period pain and they can also help to reduce pain associated with inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen can also have an inflammatory action.”

2. Antihistamines

“These can come in tablets or capsules, oral liquids, creams and nasal sprays and are used to treat and soothe allergic health conditions such as hayfever, skin allergies and insect bites and stings.”

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3. Rehydration salts

“These help to replace the body’s natural minerals and salts which may be lost through acute diarrhoea or vomiting and help to prevent the individual from becoming dehydrated. Ask your pharmacist for advice about the most suitable rehydration sachets for infants and children.”



4. Anti-diarrhoea tablets

“These can help ease the unpleasant symptoms of diarrhoea and shorten how long it lasts. Diarrhoea can affect people occasionally and can happen without warning as a result of food poisoning, a virus, poor hygiene and even anxiety.”

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5. Indigestion treatment

“Antacids, alginates or PPIs can help to ease the pain and discomfort of short-term and infrequent indigestion, heartburn or trapped wind by neutralising the acid in your stomach.”

6. Children’s medicine

“If you have young children in the family then the appropriate strength paracetamol and ibuprofen can help for pain and fever. They are available as oral liquids, sachets and tablets which melt in the mouth.”

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7. First aid kit

“Bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes and medical tape are good to keep in the medicine cupboard to treat any minor cuts and scrapes and to prevent them from becoming infected. It’s sensible to have a thermometer handy, especially if you have young children, and sterile tweezers are ideal for removing splinters.”

What do you always keep in your medicine cabinet? Tell us in the comments below.