If you become unwell or are injured, it is important that you seek medical advice appropriately and if you do to choose the right NHS service. Emergency services (Ambulances and A&E departments) should be used only in very serious or life-threatening situations.
Often minor illness and injury such as sprains, coughs, colds and grazes can be treated at home with first aid kits and over-the-counter medicines.
Make sure you keep your medicine cabinet stocked up with basic medicines to treat minor illnesses and ailments. These should include:
Paracetamol or aspirin
Please use this Interactive first aid kit for advice on how to use your home first aid kit.
If you are unsure whether you can safely treat yourself you should call:
NHS Direct on 0845 46 47
The service is nurse-led and provides health advice and information 24 hours a day. NHS Direct is also available online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk and through digital television on Freeview channel 108 or on Sky Digital’s interactive service.
You will be guided regarding self treatment, advised to contact ‘out of hours’ GP services, advised to see your own GP, advised to go to A&E or have an Ambulance called for you – whichever is appropriate.
Another useful source of information and guidance is your local pharmacist.
Pharmacists are highly trained professional and is on hand for advice on viral illnesses (coughs, colds, flu), pregnancy testing, minor cuts and injuries.
Pharmacists are on hand to offer professional advice – without an appointment – on self care and the safe use of medicines. They also provide services that help to identify potential health problems such as health screening and support for healthier lifestyles such as stopping smoking.