What to keep in your medicine cabinet

Keep the following items in your medicine cabinet ready for when you need them;

Paracetamol (e.g liquid or tablet)

Paracetamol is a common painkiller for children. It's often used to treat headaches, stomach ache, earache, and cold symptoms. It can also be used to bring down a high temperature (fever).

Ibuprofen (e.g liquid or tablet)

Ibuprofen can be used to treat pain and inflammation (swelling) including cold symptoms, teething, toothache, sprains and strains, and reduces a high temperature. Please note that if your child has been diagnosed with Asthma, Ibuprofen may not be suitable, discuss this with your pharmacist or doctor first before using.

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) Sachets

Although diarrhoea in children usually gets better on its own, it causes loss of water and salts. This may lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous, especially in very young children, because it is difficult to see the signs of dehydration. Oral rehydration salts do not treat the diarrhoea itself, but they replace the salts and water that are lost, and so reduce the effects of dehydration. Please follow the instructions on the sachet carefully.


Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis and reactions to insect bites or stings. They're also sometimes used to prevent motion sickness and as a short-term treatment for insomnia. Most antihistamines can be bought from pharmacies and shops, but some are only available on prescription.

Local Pain Relief (for sore throat)

To help soothe a sore throat and reduce how long it lasts you can use medicated lozenges containing a local anaesthetic, antiseptic, or anti-inflammatory medicine, or anaesthetic spray.

Key Information

Never exceed the recommended doses for any medicine in any 24-hour period. Keep a diary of when you give each dose so that you do not give your child too much. If you are concerned that your child has exceeded the recommended daily dose you should seek medical advice.

Please check the use-by dates and keep out of reach of children. These medicines are all available over the counter from a pharmacist.

Remember, the pharmacy or supermarket own brands are cheaper and work just as well. If you are unsure, ask your pharmacist.

Advice on giving your child medicine

Page last updated on: 31st March 2023