What is self-care?
This is a term used to include all the actions taken by people to recognise, treat and manage their own health. This includes:
- To stay fit
- Maintain good physical and mental health
- Care for minor ailments and long term conditions
- Actions like taking regular exercise or something as simple as brushing your teeth to look after yourself and keep you as healthy as possible are all part of self-care.
Benefits of self-care
It has been shown that when people are given the right information to manage their own health they can benefit from better health, improved experiences and less unplanned admissions. This can be even more important for people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
Managing aspects of your health care can mean that you spend less time waiting to see your GP’s and you can start to treat some of your minor ailments yourself, this can also free up some of your GP’s time, making it easier to get an appointment when you have a more serious condition. By managing a common condition at home, you will also help to ease the pressure on NHS services.
Many common conditions can be treated at home. You can also get further support from your community pharmacist. Many useful products can be bought from pharmacies, supermarkets and discount stores without a prescription; you can get them without an appointment or seeing a doctor. Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you deal with minor accidents and illnesses at home. The following products are useful to always have at home. Further information and the full list of recommendations can be found on NHS choices medicine cabinet
- painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
- anti-diarrhoeal medicine
- oral rehydration salts
- indigestion treatment
- first aid kit including plasters, bandages and a thermometer
They can give advice or, where appropriate, medicines that can help clear up the problem. Many pharmacies are open during evenings and weekends so you can see your local pharmacist anytime, instead of booking an appointment with your GP. You can find your nearest pharmacy here
The Self Care Forum has produced a series of factsheets to help you take care of the most common conditions. These provide useful facts about your condition, what you can expect to happen, how to help yourself, when you should see your GP and where to find out more information.