Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common winter illness and injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.

What is self-care?

Self-care means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it's brushing your teeth, taking medicine when you have a cold, or doing some exercise.

How can I self-care?

Self-care includes the actions you take every day in order to stay fit and maintain good physical and mental health, meet your social and psychological needs, prevent and treat illness, and care more effectively for minor ailments.

If you have a long-term condition there are extra things you may need to consider such as making changes to your diet, different types of exercise or medication you may need to take.

Can anyone help me to self-care?

Your pharmacist can help you to stock up your medicine cabinet with remedies for minor ailments and illnesses. Some useful additions to your home first-aid kit include:

  • Paracetamol and aspirin, and equivalent syrups (such as Calpol) for children
  • Mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters or cut bandages
  • A thermometer to check for fever
  • A range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor cuts, sprains and bruises

If you have a long-term condition, self-care involves a partnership between you and your healthcare professional that aims to improve your health outcomes and quality of life. You can also have a personalised care plan and access to courses and support.

Why should I self-care?

Keeping yourself fit and healthy can help you boost your immunity to illnesses like colds, flu and infections. Making big lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or losing weight can also decrease your chances of getting a serious illness like cancer or heart disease.