Antibiotics only work on bacteria and are without effect on viruses. Unfortunately, this means that common infections like coughs, colds and flu will not be helped by them at all.
The correct treatment is the simple remedies outlined in this section.
We only use antibiotics when they fail and we suspect there is a secondary bacterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to their not working in future and more complications like thrush and skin rashes.
Self-treatment Of Common Illnesses And Accidents
Remember that you can treat minor ailments such as colds, coughs and indigestion by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.
We suggest you keep the following:
- Paracetamol and aspirin (children under 16 and people with asthma should not take aspirin)
- Mild laxatives
- Anti-diarrhoeal medicines
- Rehydration mixture
- Indigestion remedy (for example, antacids)
- Travel sickness tablets
- Sunscreen â€“ SPF15 or higher
- Sunburn treatment (for example, calamine)
- Tweezers and sharp scissors
- A thermometer
- A selection of plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings.
- Keep the medicine chest in a secure, locked place out of reach of small children
- Always read the instructions and use the suggested dose
- Watch expiry dates â€“ donâ€™t keep or use medicines past their sell-by date.
- Take all unwanted and out-of-date medicines back to the pharmacy
Your Local Pharmacist
Your local pharmacist will be able to give you free health advice at any time â€“ you donâ€™t need an appointment. Your local pharmacist may offer you treatment for common simple problems as part of Care at Chemist package. Many pharmacies operate extended hours on a rota basis. Call NHS Direct for details.