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Self Care

What is self-care?

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. Many patients make appoint­ments to see their doc­tor or nurse, when they could be using a well-stocked med­i­cines cab­i­net or vis­it­ing a local phar­ma­cist to treat their symp­toms – and get­ting the same help or advice a lot quicker.

Self-care is the very best choice you can make for treat­ing very minor ill­nesses and injuries.

Why is self-care good for you?

Empowering people with the confidence and information to look after themselves when they can, and visit the GP when they need to, gives people greater control of their own health and encourages healthy behaviours that help prevent ill health in the long-term.

In many cases people can take care of their minor ailments, reducing the number of GP consultations and enabling GPs to focus on caring for higher risk patients, such as those with comorbidities (more than one condition), the very young and elderly, managing long-term conditions and providing new services.

How to self-care

Even a minor illness and ailments such as colds, headaches and diarrhoea can disrupt your life. Be prepared for most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. Always follow the directions on medicine packets and information leaflets, and never take more than the stated dose. If you have questions about any of these medicines or you want to buy them, ask your local pharmacist. They can give advice or, where appropriate, medicines that can help to clear up the problem. Instead of booking an appointment with your GP, you can see your local pharmacist any time: just walk in.

Always keep medicines out of the sight and reach of children. A high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place is ideal. Regularly check the expiry dates on a medicine. If a medicine is past its use-by date, don’t use it or throw it away. Take it to your pharmacy, where it can be disposed of safely.

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You can be prepared for most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.  This includes:

  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets - Diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning.  The most common anti-diarrhoeal is loperamide (sold under the names Imodium, Arret and Diasorb, among others). I t works by slowing down the action of your gut.  Don't give anti-diarrhoeals to children under 12 because they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.
  • Antihistamines - These are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites.  They're also helpful if you have hay fever.
  • First aid kit - This can help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises, and reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected. It should contain the following items:
    • bandages – these can support injured limbs, such as a sprained wrist, and also apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated in hospital
    • plasters – a range of sizes, waterproof if possible
    • thermometer – digital thermometers that you put in your mouth produce very accurate readings; a thermometer placed under the arm is a good way to read a baby or young child's temperature
    • antiseptic – this can be used to clean cuts before they're dressed (bandaged) and most can treat a range of conditions, including insect stings, ulcers and pimples; alcohol-free antiseptic wipes are useful to clean cuts
    • eyewash solution – this will help wash out grit or dirt in the eyes
    • sterile dressings – larger injuries should be covered with a sterile dressing to prevent infection until treatment can be given by a health professional
    • medical tape – this is used to secure dressings and can also be used to tape an injured finger to an uninjured one, creating a makeshift splint
    • tweezers – for taking out splinters; if splinters are left in, they can cause discomfort and become infected
  • Indigestion treatment If you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief
  • Oral rehydration salts - Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make us lose water and essential minerals, and can lead to dehydration
  • Pain relief - such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen.  These are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and menstrual pain. Aspirin must not be given to children under 16.


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pdf Athletes Foot (82 KB)

pdf Conjuctivitis (100 KB)

pdf Cough Syrups (75 KB)

pdf Cradle Cap (86 KB)

pdf Decongestants (73 KB)

pdf Diarrhoea (73 KB)

pdf Ear Wax Removal (74 KB)

pdf Emollients (73 KB)

pdf Fungal Nail Infections (109 KB)

pdf Head Lice (100 KB)

pdf Health Supplements (74 KB)

pdf Indigestion Heartburn (74 KB)

pdf Insect bites and stings (75 KB)

pdf Sore throat (71 KB)

pdf Sunscreen and sun safety (74 KB)

pdf Teething (74 KB)

pdf Warts and verrucas (140 KB)