Self care is not lack of care

First aid kit

Self-care means keeping fit and healthy, as well as knowing how to take medicines, treat minor ailments and seek help when you need it.

If you have a long term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.

The NHS constitution says:

‘please recognise you can make a significant contribution to your own and your family’s good health and wellbeing and take responsibility for 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. 

However, there are still 3.7 million visits to A&E every year for self-treatable conditions which puts the NHS under avoidable strain – and 25% of GP appointments in Coastal are for illnesses that could be treated at home.

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

A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.

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
  • Hayfever and allergies)
  • Headlice (wet combing is recommended)
  • Indigestion remedies (for occasional use)
  • Mild acne and eczema
  • Skin rashes
  • Travel medicines
  • 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 AmbulanceBritish Red Cross and the NHS Ambulance Service all provide a selection of first aid courses.

A range of advice sheets are available to give a simple guide to what you need to be able to look after yourself, your family and loved ones without needing urgent medical help.