Healthy know-how

Don't let ill-health spoil the festive season

Nobody likes being under the weather, especially this time of year. Help you and your family stay well with a bit of healthy know-how

To prepare for the festive season:


  • stock up on remedies to treat common illnesses at home
  • check your repeat prescription ahead of the festive break, order only what you need in plenty of time
  • If you want to check your symptoms, visit NHS inform to use our self-help guides
  • check when your GP and pharmacy are open over the festive season
  • know how to find the right care in the right place


  • get too much medicine as it can go out of date

Check you have medicines at home

One way to prepare this festive season is to make sure you have some over-the-counter remedies for common illnesses. Your pharmacist can advise you on the best medicines for you and your family.

Good things to have include:

  • paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief (check the label or speak to your pharmacist to check it's suitable for you)
  • anti-histamines to help allergies
  • anti-diarrhoeals for diarrhoea
  • indigestion remedies such as an antacid
  • mild laxatives for constipation
  • a first aid kit which includes plasters, bandages and antiseptic wipes for cuts and scrapes
  • medicines specifically for children (your pharmacist can advise on the most suitable ones to keep in the house)

Remember to always follow the advice on the pack and do not get too much as medicines go out of date.

Accessing medicines

If you rely on regular medicines, you should check you have enough for the festive holidays (including New Year). If you need to order more medicines, make sure you order only what you need and in plenty of time.

If you run out of your regular medicine, and your GP practice is closed, there are ways to get an emergency supply.

Use our self-help guide for advice if you're having difficulty getting the medicine you need.

How to get medicines if you run out

Managing common illnesses

Use our self-help guides to manage common illnesses such as flu, sore throat, diarrhoea and many more.

Non-urgent advice: Speak with your GP or pharmacist if they are open, or phone 111 if they are closed if:

  • your symptoms are severe or persist

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland

If you have a minor illness, a pharmacist can give you advice and provide non-prescription medicines free of charge if you are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or you live in Scotland.

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Speak to your pharmacist

Health information

You’ll find more self-care advice and general health information within the following sections on NHS inform:

If you’re well but have a question about your health or local NHS services you can contact us by phone or webchat


Check your GP practice and pharmacy opening times

Over the festive season, your GP practice and pharmacy opening hours are likely to be different from normal.

It’s important to know this information so you can make sure you order and collect any repeat prescriptions you may need in plenty of time.

Use our service directory to find out when these services will be open.

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Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time

Right care, right place

If you need help, it's important that you know how to get the right care, in the right place. The way we access urgent care has changed.

Read more about accessing services.

Campaign Resources


To help increase public awareness about this campaign, a range of digital assets have been created for social media to support this campaign.

Scotland's Service Directory

Find out about NHS services across Scotland by using Scotland's Service Directory.

Slips, trips and falls

Tips on how to avoid slips, trips and falls this winter.

Symptom Checker

NHS inform's symptom checking Self-help guides can help you know when to self-care and when to seek medical advice.


Learn about how to treat Norovirus at home, one of Scotland's most common stomach bugs.