Health Matters: Home remedies for common conditions

Ian Strachan headshot
PHARMACIST: Ian Strachan

Uppermill pharmacist IAN STRACHAN offers some top tips and home remedies for common conditions.

Many of these conditions can be treated effectively at home applying self-care, advice from your pharmacist and a selection of over the counter medicines.

In most cases a blocked nose will clear within a few days without treatment once our bodies fight off the underlying infection. When symptoms are caused through a virus like a cold or flu, your GP cannot offer more than your pharmacist as antibiotics simply won’t help. Self care tips:

  • Over-the counter decongestant medicines may relieve a blocked nose by reducing swollen blood vessels. Don’t use decongestants for more than five to seven days at a time
  • Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water may loosen the build up of mucus in your nose. Adding menthol crystals or eucalyptus oil to the water may ease your blocked nose and catarrh.


Changing your diet is often the only measure you need without taking medicines. Some useful self care tips are:

  • When constipation is causing pain a simple painkiller like paracetamol may help.
  • More fibre to your diet such as fruit, vegetables, wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, seeds and oats can be beneficial. Diet changes may take a few days to have an effect.
  • Make sure you’re drinking sufficient water. Cut down on caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks.
  • Regular exercise will greatly reduce your risk of getting constipation.
  • There are a number of over the counter laxatives available but discuss with your pharmacist. For constipation lasting for more than two weeks refer to the GP.


A migraine is a reoccurring headache that often stops a sufferer carrying on with their daily routine. Self care tips:

  • Always discuss with your pharmacist for advice. They may recommend over the counter painkillers, which are usually more effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack.
  • Combination medicines which combine a painkiller and anti-sickness medicines can be bought without prescription. When migraines are severe you may require more stronger medicines on prescription from your GP.



Coughs are usually caused by viruses such as the common cold or flu.They usually clear up without treatment once your immune system has beaten the virus.Antibiotics will not help with viruses. Self-care tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you drink something non-alcoholic at least every hour.
  • Make your own homemade cough mixture by mixing honey and lemon in hot water.
  • Some over the counter medicines can help relieve a cold or flu symptoms such as a blocked nose, fever or headache.
  • If you smoke, try to stop.
  • I would always advise you visit your GP if you’ve had a cough for more than three weeks after a viral infection or if your cough is progressively getting worse.


Next month I’m going to examine headaches.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *