It is the season of self-care

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) are urging a focus on ‘self-care’ by explaining how to recognise symptoms that can be treated at home this winter.

Dr Steve Fawcett Medical Director for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs said: “Self-care is about knowing how to recognise symptoms, and treating them with over-the-counter medicines, or contacting a local pharmacist or NHS 111 for advice. Self-care for common conditions can help free-up GP time, making it easier to get an appointment when you do need one.

“To look after your health this winter, you can start by doing simple actions such as keeping active, eating well, and stopping smoking.”

Dr Steve Fawcett added: “If you do develop a sore throat, itchy skin or other mild ailment, don’t forget about your local pharmacist. They are trained to advise on a range of minor illnesses and can direct you to the most appropriate service for your needs. Your pharmacist can offer convenient access to medicines, health advice, and offer treatment for common illnesses.

“There is a wide range of things you can do to help yourself in your home. Make sure to keep your medicine cabinet stocked with essential over-the-counter medicines such as painkillers and plasters for unexpected ailments.”

Useful medicines to keep at home include:

  • Painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Aspirin (should not be taken by children under 12) 
  • Antihistamines for allergies and hayfever
  • Diarrhoea relief 
  • Constipation relief 
  • Throat lozenges 

With more people mixing indoors this winter, it is important to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19 and the flu. By getting vaccinated as soon as possible, you lower your risk of serious illness. To book your COVID-19 vaccination, check the National Booking Service or call 119. Visit www.nhs.uk for more information on flu and the flu jab.

If you are unsure where to turn, the NHS 111 online service (www.111.nhs.uk) can provide help and advice. If it is life-threatening, you should call 999.

For more information on how to treat minor illnesses and injuries, visit the Self Care Forum and the NHS website.