Self care is about helping you to better look after the health of you and your family.
This could include self-treatable conditions, long term conditions, or lifestyle choices to ensure better physical health and mental wellbeing.
Key focuses around self care:
- looking after your own physical health and mental wellbeing as well as that of your family.
- action you can take on behalf of yourself and others to develop, protect, maintain and improve health, wellbeing or wellness.
- how to use health services; where to access services for particular symptoms and the role of the pharmacist in offering fast, convenient health and wellbeing advice.
Medicines cabinet at home
One of the best ways to take care of yourself this winter is to make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked. Minor conditions such as colds, coughs and sore throats can be easily treated with supplies you can keep at home. It costs as little as £10 to stock your medicine cabinet and this can make a big difference to your health this winter.
We recommend always having the following items at home:
- Painkillers like ibuprofen and paracetamol
- Aspirin (should not be taken by children under 12)
- Antihistamines for allergies
- Diarrhoea relief
- Constipation relief
- Throat lozenges
You should also have a fully-stocked first aid kit with plasters and bandages. In the summer, make sure you have sunscreen and also antiseptic cream for bites and stings. See our interactive medicines box.
Strains and sprains
An ankle sprain or strain is likely to be accompanied by pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around the joint or in the muscle. You may also find it difficult to move the affected joint.
Thankfully most sprains and strains are relatively minor and can be treated at home with self-care techniques, by using the PRICE therapy method (see below) or suitable pain medication - there is no need for lengthy waits in hospital emergency departments. Your local urgent care or walk-in centre can also help, and many offer x-ray facilities.
PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation:
- Protect the injury by
- Rest the area for at least 48 hours
- Ice packs should be used on the first day for 20 minutes, up to eight times – a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel does the job well
- Compress with a bandage
Elevate the injury for an hour or so will also help the recovery and decrease the swelling.
Sprains and strains can take up to four weeks to heal so you may need to rest the injury. If you have used these measures and are still in a lot of pain, you may need to see a health professional. By calling NHS111, which is free from any network and available 24/7, you will get advice about what to do next or where to go to get further assessment and treatment.
Cold and flu are easily spread through coughs and sneezes which release germs which can live on hands and other surfaces for 24 hours. The best way to avoid getting sick is to make sure you wash your hands properly and frequently, and make sure that objects and surfaces that have come in contact with germs are sanitised.
To make sure you spend enough time washing your hands try singing ‘happy birthday’ twice through - this should take about 40 seconds.
Here are some other things you can do to stop spreading germs:
- sneeze or cough into tissues or your elbow to avoid passing on germs
- throw away any used tissues immediately
- make sure the cups and dishes you use when ill are cleaned properly using soap and hot water.
Watch our hand washing video
Your local services
Find out how to stay well this winter, with advice on keeping warm and healthy and being prepared for the cold weather: