Self Care


What is self care?

If you feel under the weather or have a common illness such as a bad cold, the flu or a stomach upset, then you can usually look after yourself at home.  This is called self care.

A big part of your recovery from these minor illnesses or injuries is taking time to rest and drinking plenty of fluids, and having a well stocked medicines box or cupboard.

Being able to look after yourself well often means taking some easily available medicines, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, indigestion tablets, or flu plus.  It is sensible to have these medicines and others you may need regularly, available at home in a safe place that is easy for you to find and remember, but out of the reach of children.

For minor cuts and grazes, cleaning the wound under clean running water and covering with a plaster or gauze and tape, will help prevent infection.  So make sure you have plasters in your medicine box or cupboard too.

How can you self care?

Being able to look after yourself just needs a little bit of planning when you are well and some confidence that you will be ok.  Remember that before the NHS, most people looked after themselves, and didn’t worry about colds, stomach upsets or minor cuts, burns and grazes!

The NHS are encouraging more people to look after themselves and there are some minor illnesses that you will no longer be able to get a prescription for.  The medicines for these are all easily available in local pharmacies or shops and are available over the counter without a prescription.  Visit our Over the Counter Medicines page for more information and so you can make sure you have the medicines in for any of these illnesses if you get them.

There are four things you can do to help make looking after yourself easier:

1.Have a well stocked medicine box or cupboard
A well stocked medicine cabinet can be used treat most minor ailments. A medicine cabinet should include:

  • Paracetamol and aspirin, and equivalent syrups (such as Calpol) for children
  • Mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • Re-hydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters or cut bandages
  • Thermometer to check for fever
  • Range of bandages, plasters (various sizes), non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings
  • Antiseptic to clean cuts before they’re dressed (bandaged) and most can treat a range of conditions including insect stings, ulcers and pimples.

2. Use your local Pharmacy
Your local pharmacy can provide expert, confidential advice and treatment. Best of all, there is no need for an appointment and they will be able to help you by:

  • Offer advice on treating minor ailments and injuries
  • Give advice on medication and whether you need to see your GP
  • Help you manage certain long-term conditions
  • Dispense medicine when you give them your prescription
  • Dispense repeat prescriptions without the need to visit your GP
  • Give sexual health and contraception advice

3.Keep yourself healthy
Be more active and do things that you enjoy to keep yourself physically and mentally well.
Being more active is not only great for your general health but also your mental health too. It’s not about running a marathon but instead walking more or using the stairs instead of a lift. It’s said that we’re not getting enough exercise as we need but how much is enough and how do you get more active?

  • Adults needs to be active for at least 150 minutes each week
  • Kids aged five to 16 need to be active for at least 60 minutes each day
  • Kids under five need three hours of activity a day

4.Live as healthily as you can
It’s never too late to switch to a healthier lifestyle and children who learn healthy habits at a young age will benefit from them throughout their life. The most commons ways to improve your health is:

More information on how to look after you and your family, including lots of tips can be found on the NHS website:

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