A Patient Guide to Self-Care

The aim of self-care is to empower patients as individuals to take responsibility of their own health. By encouraging self-care, we aim to inspire healthy behaviours, prevent ill-health, help the NHS save money and free up resources on other areas of the NHS. Visiting your local pharmacist is a great way to practice self-care. By managing minor health needs through self-care, it will help to ease the pressure on the NHS. Self-care means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it is brushing your teeth, taking medicine when you have hay fever or doing some exercise. If you have a long-term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it. This year’s Self-Care Week takes place from November 15-21 (2021).

For 2022, National Self-Care Week is 14 - 20 November.

Please scroll down to access a vast variety of self-help guidance to help you address some of your health niggles.

Many of the patients who use Accident & Emergency Services use them inappropriately. These videos below highlight the `funny side' of incorrect usage of A&E services.

Video 1    Video 2    Video 3

Self Care Week : 15 -21 November 2021

Self-care is recommended when you have a minor condition which doesn’t normally need medical care (from a doctor or nurse) or any treatment in order to get better.

In practice this means a person decides that they can manage their illness without seeing a doctor.

This may be because they don’t like taking remedies or pills, or because they believe they will recover just as quickly if they stay at home and rest until their illness goes away of its own accord. Or they may pop out to buy medicines over the counter at a pharmacy. Either way, ‘self-care’ is something millions of us do every day – for positive and practical reasons.

But what if you feel you need some advice before you are able to self-care? For instance, if you’re not sure if your condition is minor, or one that goes away of its own accord, i.e. a virus, or if you just want advice on how to relieve the symptoms.

The good news is, your local pharmacist can help you.

How Your Pharmacist can Help You with Self-Care

How to Manage Pink Eye (Acute Conjunctivitis)

Local pharmacies provide NHS services in the same way as GP practices – and pharmacists train for five years in the use of medicines before they qualify as health professionals. What’s more, it’s a walk-in service, open all day.

A pharmacist will assess symptoms and consider any long-term conditions, and the medicines that you’re taking, before providing a recommendation. They will either:

Support/advise you in your decision to self-care.

Sell you an ‘over the counter’ medicine (which doesn’t need a prescription or visit to a GP) that will help relieve symptoms and make you more comfortable.

Be Prepared for Makeover of Your Medicine Cabinet

Signpost you to the right medical care if you need it.

This help and advice is available at over 11,000 local pharmacies, without any appointment being needed, within your local area, and often into the evenings.

These are the common conditions that I suggest people can often manage for themselves:

Coughs and colds

Sprains and strains

Sore throat

Sinusitis

Earache

Constipation

Headache

Self-Help Care Guide for Common Conditions

If you’re unsure about which conditions you should be managing yourself, or how to manage them, see your local pharmacist.

So I hope you can try to self-care this winter.

For details of your nearest local pharmacy, and opening hours, go to the Find Pharmacy Services pages on the NHS Choices website.

Find a pharmacy - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Self Help : Mental Health

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