Helping people to look after their own health, and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

Minor ailments and injuries (such as the ones listed below) can often be treated at home by ensuring you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tickly coughs
  • Sore throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Earaches

This is how long they may last ...

  • Ear infection: 4 days
  • Sore throat: 1 week
  • Common cold: 1½ weeks
  • Flu: 2 weeks
  • Sinusitis: 2½ weeks
  • Cough or bronchitis: 3 weeks

Did you know? Antibiotics are not an effective treatment for winter symptoms such as a cough, cold, sore throat, flu or nasal congestion. These symptoms are caused by viruses and antibiotics only work against bacteria. If you take antibiotics unnecessarily then they may not work when you need them to treat a bacterial infection.

Save yourself a trip to your GP and pop into your local pharmacy first for expert advice.

Self-care for common conditions can also help free up GPs' time, making it easier to for you to get an appointment when you have a more serious condition. This is especially important during winter, when illnesses like coughs, colds, flu and sore throats are more common. If you believe someone has been spiked please follow this advice given by

Remember, NHS 111 can also be a good resource for health advice for things that are not life-threatening. The NHS website also has lots of information on what steps to take to look after you and your family. Visit the NHS website Living Well page.