Self-care advice and support

We all have a responsibility to look after our own health and wellbeing and to use NHS services wisely. Self-care means keeping fit and healthy, knowing how to take medicines or treat minor conditions and seeking help when you need it. If you have a long-term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how best to live with it.

Most people are very capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when they need it.

A GP appointment or a visit to A&E is sometimes unavoidable but there are still millions of visits to these services every year for minor illnesses which could have been treated elsewhere.

Stock up your medicine cabinet

Why not set up your own home medicine cabinet so that you have things on hand when you need them?

With a well-stocked medicine cabinet, advice from your local pharmacist and plenty of rest you can look after yourself and your loved ones effectively at home for a large range of common illnesses.

This could include treatment for the following:

  • Minor aches and pains
  • Minor sprains, sports injuries, grazed knee and scars
  • Coughs, colds, blocked noses, fevers and sore throat
  • Hangover
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Constipation, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Dry skin
  • Hay fever and allergies
  • Head lice (wet combing is recommended)
  • Indigestion remedies (for occasional use)
  • Mild acne and eczema or skin rashes
  • Travel medicines
  • First aid

Self-care advice

Pharmacists can provide advice and over-the-counter medication and there’s also a wealth of information and advice sheets on the NHS website and the Self Care Forum website or by calling NHS 111 by dialling 111 on your phone.

First aid

Having a basic knowledge of first aid can save lives and it can help you to understand when someone needs to go to the hospital or when they might just need a bandage, a cup of tea and a few minutes to recover.

Basic first aid courses are run regularly in most areas around the UK. St John Ambulance and British Red Cross provide a selection of first aid courses.