Four Essential Medicines to Keep at Home

Whether you’ve got a large family with children of all ages, or you live on your own, at some point you will need to call on some over-the-counter medicines to help you get over particular illnesses, such as coughs or colds. Young or old, we can sometimes struggle with these conditions and pick them up from pretty much anywhere.

Yet how often have you gone to the medicine cabinet at home and found you’ve not got the right one for your ailment? It’s important to make sure you’re prepared to deal with any minor ailment and you should check that you have a supply of these items to hand.


This medicine helps to ease pain and reduce high temperatures (also known as fevers). These can come in either tablets, for adults and older children, or a liquid, for babies and young children. You can also get soluble or melt-in-the-mouth tablets as well. Paracetamol is probably one of the most important medicines for you to keep on hand, especially if you have young children.

Paracetamol is safe to take at normal doses but can be harmful if you take too much, so make sure you use the correct amount according to your age. Don’t exceed the recommended amount stated on the packet, either.

Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers

These types of painkillers also reduce inflammation and fever. You may need a prescription for some variants, but you can also get ibuprofen from supermarkets or pharmacies. You can use these medicines for muscular aches and sprains and also to relieve period pain. They can come in tablet form, plus soluble and melt-in-the-mouth tablets; gels and foams can be rubbed on painful areas, such as painful joints.

However, some people might not be able to tolerate these painkillers. These include those who have — or have had — a stomach or duodenal ulcer.

Nasal Decongestants

When you have a cold, you will develop nasal congestion that results in a blocked nose. You may find that the best way to deal with this is to inhale steam — to which you could add a decongestant. You could even get drops or a spray to help. Don’t use these for more than a few days, though: if you aren’t getting relief, talk to your doctor.


Some people are allergic to insect bites and dust, for example, and these can trigger reactions that may manifest as itching, swelling, a runny nose and watery eyes. These symptoms are due to the release of a chemical called histamine. Antihistamines can help deal with these symptoms, but they may cause a slight drowsiness so you should not drive or perform tasks that require you to be alert.

You can purchase these, and other essential medicines, from supermarkets and your local pharmacy. Alternatively, you could order your supplies online pharmacies: suppliers such as Chemist Direct will have these and other medicines required for you and your family. 

You should always read labels carefully and follow the instructions, and be sure to store medicines out of reach of children. Speak to your doctor if the symptoms persist or don’t go away.

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