Which Over the Counter medicines are worth buying? Experienced GP, Dr Em. shares her wisdom

At this time of the year when the Smalls are riddled with cough after cough, and cold after cold, and you’re tearing your hair out trying to make them feel better and get a good night sleep, you’d do PRETTY MUCH anything to get them well!  Let’s face there’s not much you wouldn’t do for eight hours straight!


So I asked our friendly experienced GP, Dr Em. for her top tips on over the counter medicines for grown-ups and Smalls alike. Here’s what she had to say!

Cough medicine

There are some pretty convincing adverts on the TV that promise a lot. However cough syrups can be expensive and there is little evidence that they work. A cheaper and quite soothing alternative is to mix a spoon of honey and some lemon juice in a mug of hot water (Manuka honey would be a top choice). Please remember not to give honey to a child under one due to the risks of infant botulism.


Ultimately coughing has an important purpose, to help your body keep unwanted stuff from ending up in your lungs, but I do know how dreadful a bad cough can be…


Paracetamol is ideal for helping with temperatures, aches and pains, headache and sore throat. Always read the packages for the correct dosage.



In the short term decongestants or “congestant relief” sprays and tablets can relieve symptoms as well. Please do not use these for longer than 5 days as they can then start to make congestion worse. Menthol/eucalyptus are more natural alternatives.

Night Nurse or Similar brands

Night Nurse (other brands are available) contains an antihistamine to try to aid some restful sleep.


Thanks Dr Em for your words of wisdom and remember your local pharmacy is a great place to get health advice from too – as the NHS says; ‘Getting advice from a local pharmacist is the best first step for a minor health concern. But if you think you or your family member are more seriously ill, then a GP or hospital may be more appropriate.’ Read more about help from your pharmacy team at the NHS Livewell website.

I hope your Smalls and you remain well for the rest of the winter, and you are getting what almost all Mamas I know REALLY want in life. A good night sleep xx

Lucy xx

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