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Self Care

Choose Self Care

When you’re feeling ill with a minor illness like a cold or sore throat, or have picked up a minor injury, do you know how to treat the symptoms at home?

Health experts in Staffordshire are encouraging us all to take control of our health and wellbeing so we can get better sooner.

It’s called ‘self care’ and aims to empower us to know how to recognise symptoms, know how to treat them as soon they appear using over-the-counter medicines, and when to get more advice from a pharmacist or NHS 111.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, GP in Staffordshire, said: “No one wants to have to wait for an appointment only to be told to go and see a pharmacist, but for many conditions that’s what you need.

“What we want to do is to be able to give you the tools to spot symptoms, know how to treat them and when to get more advice.

“Self care is just as it sounds, it’s looking after yourself to the best of your ability when you have a medical problem, and there are a wide range of things you can do to help yourself and be ready for when minor illnesses and health issues start.

”You can start soothing things like sunburns, coughs and headaches, straight away with remedies in a well-stocked first aid kit and medicine cabinet. By treating common ailments with self care they can be resolved quickly and you can get back to enjoying your life.”

We recommend always having the following items at home – all for fewer than £10:  

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

Dr Helen, added: “If you need any further advice, I would recommend visiting your local pharmacy, or if it is more urgent, call NHS 111.

“Both of these services are excellent options for dealing with any non-emergency medical concerns.”

Dr Gill Hall is a community pharmacist in Staffordshire, she said: “Community pharmacists like me are your port of call when you need help or advice about health needs, we can talk through your symptoms, look at other medications you may be taking, and give you the best advice.”

“There’s no need for an appointment and you can talk to us in private, confidentially, and if we can’t help, we’ll direct you to the most appropriate local service.”

NHS 111 is much more than a helpline. You can speak to fully trained advisors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can put you straight through to a relevant healthcare professional, including nurses, emergency dentists, or even GPs.

The advisors can also arrange face-to-face appointments, and if you are assessed as needing an ambulance, one will be sent directly.

NHS 111 online uses the same clinical algorithms as the 111 phone service, taking you through questions about your symptoms to receive tailored advice on what to do next and where to go.

For more information on how to treat minor medical concerns visit the Self Care Forum and the NHS website.

Self care advice for minor ailments

Some common conditions that people seek GP appointments for will get better within a short time or can be treated with over-the-counter medicines from a pharmacy. 
For a wide range of minor ailments, your local pharmacist should be your first point-of-call because: 

  • You don’t need an appointment 
  • There are no waiting times 
  • You will see a clinician with expertise in minor ailments and their treatment 
  • You can have privacy if you would like it 
  • You can leave with appropriate treatment or therapy and guidance on how to use it

So, from the beginning of September, pharmacies across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will no longer be offering the Minor Ailments Service free of charge. Instead, people will be offered self care advice around how they can treat their conditions using over-the-counter medicines. 

This is in line with NHS England guidance and follows a national consultation which concluded last year. The consultation showed that 81% of respondents thought there should not be prescriptions issued for self-limiting conditions, and 72% thought they should not be issued if an over-the-counter remedy was easily available. 

Sore throat play 21 insect bites and stings 500 x 500 4. Infrequenat Cold sore of the lip v 5 500 x 500 22. Mild Acne 500 x 500
Sore throat Insect bites and stings Cold sore  Mild acne 
5. Conjunctivitis 500 x 500 1 23. Mild dry skin 500 x 500 6. Coughs and colds and nasal congestion v3 500 x 500 1 24. sunburn 500 x 500
Conjunctivitis  Mild dry skin  Coughs and cold  Sunburn and sun protection
7.cradle cap 500 x 500 hay fever play 8.Haemorrhoids v3 500 x 500 1 27. Minor burns and scalds 500 x 500
Cradle cap  Mild hayfever Haemorrhoids  Minor burn or scald
9. Infant colic v2 500 x 500 1 20. Infrequent Migraines 10. mild cystitis 500 x 500 29. Mouth ulcers 500 x 500
Infant colic  Minor ailment-related pain (eg headache)  Mild cystitis  Mouth ulcer 
11. Mild Irritant dermatitis 500 x 500 30. nappy rash 500 x 500 12. dandruff 500 x 500 31. oral thrush 500 x 500
Mild dermatitis  Nappy rash Dandruff  Oral thrush
8.Haemorrhoids v3 500 x 500 1 33.ringworm 500 x 500 33. athletes foot 500 x 500 14.Dry eyes sore eyes tired v3 500 x 500 3
Diarrhoea (adults only) Ringworm Athletes’ foot Dry or sore eyes
34.teething toothache 500 x 500 15. Earwax 500 x 500 35. threadworm v3 500 x 500 1 16. Excessive sweating 500 x 500
Teething or mild toothache Earwax  Threadworms Excessive sweating 
36.Travel sickness v3 500 x 500 17. Head lice v2 500 x 500 1 37. warts and verrucae 500 x 500 18.Indigestion and heartburn f v2 500 x 500 1
Travel sickness Headlice    Warts and verrucae Indigestion and heartburn
coughs play 19. infequent constipation 500 x 500 1 20. Infrequent Migraines  

Fever
especially in children

Infrequent constipation  Infrequent migraine  


Where a pharmacist can’t help, they will direct you to the most appropriate local service for your need. 

What if my symptoms don’t improve?

Pharmacy

Pharmacists are medical experts and are able to offer advice and over-the-counter treatments for minor ailments like aches and pains, coughs and colds, infections and viruses, allergies, minor injuries, skin conditions and more, saving a visit to the doctor’s surgery.

There’s no need for an appointment and you can talk to them in private, confidentially, and will direct you to the most appropriate local service if you need further help.

NHS 111

NHS 111 is much more than a helpline. You can speak to fully trained advisors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can put you straight through to a relevant healthcare professional, including nurses, emergency dentists, or even GPs.

The advisors can also arrange face-to-face appointments, and if you are assessed as needing an ambulance, one will be sent directly.

NHS 111 online uses the same clinical algorithms as the 111 phone service, taking you through questions about your symptoms to receive tailored advice on what to do next and where to go.

More help

Further information and advice on treating minor health problems with self care is available on the NHS website

Find out more about the conditions for which over-the-counter medicines will no longer be prescribed

Visit the NHS England website for a patient information leaflet (including an Easy Read version)


 Professionals

For posters and other materials to help promote Self Care, go to 

http://www.southstaffordshirejointformulary.nhs.uk/docs/pc/Over-the-Counter%20Prescribing%20Policy/

http://www.northstaffordshirejointformulary.nhs.uk/docs/sel/

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