Festive first aid essentials to soothe you through seasonal ills and accidents

The festive season sees a dramatic increase in the number accidents and illnesses which can pose a problem when your GP and local chemist are closed.

By following our tips and stocking up on these festive first aid supplies before Christmas will help you get the very best from the holidays.

Medication check list

Chemists and doctors will be closed over the festive period. Plan ahead so you have sufficient supplies to see you until the holidays are over – the Christmas period is longer than people anticipate.

People often need emergency medical care over the Christmas period as they start suffering symptoms because they have forgotten their medicine.

Prescribed medications need to be taken on a regular basis and can cause serious problems if the medication runs out.

Make sure you have enough regular prescription medication and relatives staying with you have all their necessary medication – creams, pills and inhalers.


Stock up on some antihistamine in case of any allergies over the festive period. New pets, different foods and seasonal plants could cause allergies so keep some antihistamine handy to reduce any allergic reactions.

Anti-Inflammatory Gel

Keep a tube of soothing gel for any aches or muscle strains from festive decorating or activities such as sweeping the snow.

Colds and flu

Friends and family often introduce new germs to the festive mix and being ill over Christmas can be miserable! Stock up on your trusted cold remedies to reduce symptoms and boxes of tissues.
Increasing Vitamin C intake can ward off a cold, and Echinacea is reported to help too.

Food poisoning

If you have a dose of E. coli or Salmonella then having a stash of oral rehydration solutions is a good idea to replace lost fluids. Lucozade Sport or Dioralyte are effective at rapid rehydration


Hangovers are primarily caused by dehydration and so the best way to feel better is to replace the lost fluid and electrolytes. Never drink on an empty stomach and drink plenty of water throughout the evening too.
Berocca, which is an energy vitamin tablet full of vitamin C can be helpful rehydration prior to an evening out.
Alka Seltza or Ibuprofen (remember to take after food) will ease any headaches. Alka Seltza contains caffeine as well as pain killers and may help restore energy.
Milk Thistle may help your liver to recover from the excess. It is available from health food shops.

Please ensure you always read the labels carefully before taking any medications to ensure there are no contraindications.


Cold weather and central heating can combine to make eczema worse. Invest in some 1% hydrocortisone to deal with any inflamed rashes or to soothe the burn of chilblains.


Over-eating can cause indigestion – but please do not confuse indigestion symptoms with that of a heart attack – Heart Attack.
Invest in Rennie, Gaviscon or peppermint oil – alternatively fresh peppermint tea works well to ease mild indigestion.
Digestive Enzyme available from health food shops can be helpful, as can charcoal.
Probiotics and probiotic yoghourts to assist your gut to recover from over indulgence.

Pain relief

Stock up on paracetamol for general pain relief from headaches such as migraine or toothache.

Stock up on children’s liquid paracetamol for any coughs and sniffles they may have.

Ensure you have a well-stocked first aid kit:

Your first aid kit needs to be easily accessible in case an emergency arises and consequently should not contain any medication, this is in case children accidentally get hold of it.

The kit should be well organised, ideally in a bag with compartments to allow you to quickly grab what you need.

Invest in the best kit you can so the contents are good quality – often cheap kits will not be of sufficient quality should you need to use them.
Your kit should contain a First Aid book or instructions, and contents to treat: major and minor bleeding, burns, breaks and sprains.

Essential contents:
  • Tough cut scissors to cut through clothes
  • A face shield to protect yourself when resuscitating someone
  • Gloves – non-sterile to protect you and sterile for treating someone with deep wounds or burns
  • Sterile medical wipes to clean a wound
  • Wound dressings of various sizes
  • Micropore tape to secure dressings and tape fingers and toes
  • A couple of calico triangular bandages (ensure they are calico not cheap paper ones)
  • Eye dressings
  • Sterile saline vial – for irrigating a wound, or washing grit from an eye
  • Crepe bandage for sprains and strains
  • Plasters – for short term covering of a minor wound

Additional useful contents:

  • Burn gel or a burns dressing – to apply to a burn after cooling
  • Instant ice pack – at home you can use a bag of frozen peas – ensure it is wrapped in a cloth as it can cause ice burns
  • Foil blanket to insulates someone from the ground, keep them warm and can be folded as a great pelvic splint
  • Steri-strips
  • Sterile tweezers – for removing small splinters (nothing else should ever be removed from a wound unless by a medical professional)


Written by Emma Hammett from First Aid for Life


Providing practical first aid training tailored to your needs

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit firstaidforlife.org.uk emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible

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