Self-Care Week is the annual national event that raises awareness of what we can all do to improve our physical health and mental wellbeing. This year, the theme is Practise Self Care for Life.
Self Care Week is a perfect time to think about how we live our lives and maybe make some small changes that will help us take better care of ourselves and our families. Those changes could mean looking at what we eat or drink, or how much exercise we do or how much sleep we are getting. They could be about our work life balance, because staying connected to our friends and family is also vital to our wellbeing, and theirs.
Knowing what to do and where to go for help is an important part of practising self-care for life. Remember, it isn’t just the GP practice that can help, pharmacies are also health experts. They are on every High Street and can help with all sorts of ailments. Pharmacists can also signpost you to the right place for additional health advice or treatment.
Remember, NHS 111 can also be a good resource for health advice for things that are not life-threatening. And the NHS website has lots of information on what steps to take to look after you and your family. https://www.nhs.uk/ The Self Care Forum also has some useful fact sheets you might like to download. https://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/
The important thing to remember is, practising self-care is something we all need to do every day. For ourselves. For our families. And for the NHS.
Are you an organisation who wants to support self-care messages? Download the posters below.
Can the pharmacist help with your symptoms? Poster
Compare the costs poster
What to keep in your medicine's cabinet? poster
Home care is the best for some conditions - poster
Some tips to practise self-care and keep well this winter
How to prepare for self-care?
Having a medicines cabinet at home is the perfect way to make sure you are well prepared to self-care for you and your family!
Things you should think about for your medicine's cabinet are:
A first aid kit with plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, tape, and eyewash solution.
Painkillers such as paracetamol, or ibuprofen which are good for relieving headaches, period pains, joint sprains and bringing down temperatures.
*Need to include section on stocking Calpol and Ibruprofen solution for children*
Antihistamine tablets and creams – these are brilliant to help reduce itching from:
- Insect bites
- Chicken pox
- Allergic reactions to food/ animals/ products
- Hayfever symptoms (there are different typesyou can purchase over the counter or a supermarket from tablets and sprays to eye drops)
Oral rehydration salts to replace the electrolytes lost from diarrhoea and vomiting.
Indigestion liquids or tablets to help with symptoms of heart burn and acid reflux.
All the above items can be bought from your local pharmacy or supermarket. Be sure to read the patient information leaflets, instructions on how to take the medication and the expiry of the medication. Remember to keep these medications out of the reach of children. You can speak to your local pharmacist for more advice.
When can I expect to feel better?
Many common illnesses will get better on their own or can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Even if you are feeling quite unwellyou don’t always need antibiotics..
For most people
A Sore throat can last up to 7 days
Colds can last up to 10 days.
The flu can last up to 2 weeks.
A blocked nose and cough can last up to 3 weeks.
If your symptoms do not improve within the expected time then you should consider returning to the Pharmacy or calling your Practice to see your GP or Nurse. It can be concerning looking after ill babies and young children. Please do seek advice from your local pharmacy or GP Practice.
How to make the most of your local pharmacy
Pharmacies are a great community resource and can help support you and your family when you are feeling unwell.
You can seek advice on many common illnesses at your local pharmacy. Pharmacists and their their teams are trained to offer health advice including which medications will helphelp or treat your symptoms and advise you on when to see a doctor if needed. Items bought from the Pharmacy are usually cheaper than a prescription from your GP Practice.
Many pharmacies are also open late into the evening and over the weekends, allowing you to walk in and ask for advice at a time convenient for you and without the need for an appointment.
There are also many informative websites that provide advice such as https://111.nhs.uk/ If you are worried that your symptoms are serious or you are feeling very unwell, call 111 for advice. Alternatively, you can visit the 111 website for further information about the services available