Take charge of your health – that is the message from UHMBT and NHS chiefs this Self Care Week.
Staying active, checking your medication and knowing how to treat common illnesses yourself are just some of the little things we can all do to prevent health and wellbeing issues getting to the point of needing medical help.
Self Care Week is a national event from 13 to 19 November 2023 and is the perfect time to think about how we live our lives and maybe make some small changes.
Peter Gregory, Associate Medical Director with NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “We see a lot of people coming to GPs with conditions that would naturally get better in time on their own.
“It’s easy for people to assume the worst when they get ill and worry that their cold or sore throat is something worse, and we will always encourage people to make an appointment with their GP if they have real cause for concern.
“Very often it’s better to take control of the illness and a quick visit to a pharmacist for advice or simply getting plenty of rest and warm drinks is enough to get on top of things.”
As health services such as GPs, walk-in centres and Emergency Departments (EDs) are busier than ever, the best way to avoid long waits is to prevent health and wellbeing issues getting to the point of needing urgent medical help.
Information videos about the most common illnesses and ailments that can be treated by self-care at home are available at www.healthierlsc.co.uk/winter.
The list includes hot baths and over-the-counter painkillers for colds, honey and lemon in warm water for coughs, olive oil in the ears to help with build-up of ear wax and exercises on how to improve balance if you’re unsteady on your feet. These videos also contain information about how long the illness may last and at what point you should consider seeking medical advice from your doctor.
The benefits of exercising self-care go beyond not having to take time out of your day to see a healthcare professional. Very often over-the-counter remedies can be much cheaper than getting them on prescription. Paracetamol, for example, costs as little as 34 pence and completely stocking your medicine cabinet with staple medicines and remedies can be done for under £15.
There are also benefits for mental and physical health, as good self-care includes getting more exercise, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. One of the simplest self-care behaviours is trying a new hobby which distracts the mind from day-to-day troubles and can give you a sense of achievement. Speaking to a social prescribing link worker could help find something for you.
Most GP practices have access to social prescribing link workers or health coaches. Their role is to establish what is affecting your health and wellbeing and explore ways to tackle those issues. They can guide you through the different options and support you into a service that best suits your needs. They will even go as far as going with you to a new group or service if you need it.
Local authorities have lots of people willing to offer advice on finding new services or hobbies for you. That could be in the form of a sports coach at one of the sports centres or even a librarian to help search for a new hobby or interest group.
Find more top tips around self-care at: www.healthierlsc.co.uk/winter
For more information on Self Care Week visit Self Care Week.
Notes to editors:
Self Care Week from 13-19 November is an annual national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self-care across communities, families and generations. The campaign is about making improvements in your life to protect your physical health and mental wellbeing