Minor Ailments

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Many minor ailments can be treated at home with no need for medical attention.

If you are generally in good health, there is no reason why you can’t look after minor illnesses yourself. In most cases the illness will get better by itself and so an appointment with your GP practice or another NHS services isn’t required.

If you have any long term conditions we would generally advise you to still contact your GP practice for advice if you develop a minor illness. This doesn’t need to be with a GP. There are a wide range of health professionals in practices nowadays such as advanced nurse practitioners, physician associates or clinical pharmacists, who are well qualified to advise patients and are often specialists in managing long term conditions. Your practice will be able to advise who will be best to see.

If you need some support to look after a minor ailment yourself, there are several options to choose from which are described on this page.


Taking antibiotics when you do not need them can mean they will not work for you in the future. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats and so an appointment at your GP practice for a prescription for such illnesses will be unnecessary.

NHS 111 Online

Visit 111.nhs.uk to find out where to get help for your specific symptoms or general health information and advice.


The NHS App is a simple and secure way for people to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet, including getting health advice. It is available to download on iOS and Android devices.

A member of pharmacy staff reaching for medicines on a shelf.

Your local pharmacy

Pharmacists are qualified health professionals and are the right people to see if you need advice or over-the-counter medicines.

Picture of mother and children walking

Children and young people's health

Visit our children and young people's pages for more information about looking after common childhood illnesses at home.

Useful websites

Information library

View or download related leaflets and posters.

Where next?

Get in the know about other local services.
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