What is self-care?
Self-care refers to the actions we take to recognise, treat and manage our own health. It’s about doing small, everyday things for yourself to keep healthy and happy.
What are the benefits?
- Quicker - no need to wait for an appointment
- Easier - medicines are available from many local shops and pharmacies
- Simple - no prescription required
- Considerate - frees up appointments for more serious conditions
Where can I go for advice?
There is lots of information now available to support self-care and to help manage minor illnesses. Here are our top suggestions:
The NHS website is the UK’s biggest health website. It has lots of advice on illnesses and how to treat them.
Pharmacy Pharmacists are trained professionals who are ready to give advice on the best treatment for minor conditions such as:
Cold, headaches, cold sores, head lice, conjunctivitis, heartburn, constipation, indigestion, cough, insect bites, dental pain, migraines, diarrhoea, nappy rash, dry eyes, rashes, dry skin, sore throat, earache, teething, fever, temperature, haemorrhoids, threadworm, hayfever and thrush.
Most pharmacies offer a private consultation room where they can offer confidential advice. Pharmacists can talk you through your symptoms and offer advice and reassurance about how long these may last and what to do if they continue or get worse.
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
When you call 111, an advisor will ask you some questions to help assess your symptoms. Once they have done this they will offer you advice or direct you to the best service for you in the local area.
What should I do if I am trying to self-care but my symptoms persist?
If you look your illness up on www.nhs.uk it will tell you how long symptoms normally last. If your symptoms are lasting more than you would have expected then you should seek further advice from your pharmacist or GP.
You can visit our self-care aware page here for links to a leaflets offering advice on treating a range of minor illnesses and injuries
Preparing to self-care
A well stocked medical cabinet can help you to deal with minor accidents and injuries at home. A basic first aid kit should contain:
- plasters, triangular bandage and two sterile eye dressings
- small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- safety pins
- disposable sterile gloves
- tweezers, scissors and sticky tape
- alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- thermometer, preferably digital
- skin rash cream such as hydrocortisone or calendula
- cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings and antiseptic cream
- painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16) or ibuprofen cough medicine
- cold and flu remedies
- anti-diarrhoea medication
- oral rehydration salts
- indigestion remedies
- distilled water, for cleaning wounds and as an eye bath
Having some medicines at home means peace of mind.