Self care advice and support

A range of advice sheets and website links are available to help you know what you need to be able to look after yourself, your family and loved ones without needing urgent medical help.

Self-care advice

Self-care means keeping fit and healthy, knowing how to take medicines or treat minor ailments and seeking help when you need it. If you have a long term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how best to live with it.

Most people are very capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when they need it.

However, there are still 3.7 million visits to A&E every year for self-treatable conditions which puts the NHS under avoidable strain – and 25% of GP appointments in Coastal are for illnesses that could be treated at home.

Getting the right medicines

This year the NHS will cost around £124 billion, of which £14 billion (that’s £38 million every day) will be spent on medicines. With the age of the population increasing rapidly, the demand for medicines, and on the NHS as a whole, is growing dramatically.

Medicines are one of the ways that the NHS can reduce costs whilst improving care. We no longer support routine prescribing of health supplements and medications that can be bought over-the-counter from community pharmacies, in line with the NHS England guidance. You can read our position statement on this in full.

This means your GP might suggest that you buy some common medicines, available over-the-counter from your local chemist or a shop, rather than getting them on prescription.

These are often likely to be much cheaper than the cost of a prescription.

Why not set up your own home medicine cabinet so that you have things on hand when you need them?

With a well-stocked medicine cabinet, advice from your local pharmacist and plenty of rest you can look after yourself and your loved ones effectively at home for a large range of common illnesses.

This could include treatment for the following:

  • Minor aches and pains
  • Minor sprains, sports injuries, grazed knee and scars
  • Coughs, colds, blocked noses, fevers and sore throat
  • Hangover
  • Athlete's foot
  • Constipation, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Dry skin
  • Hay fever and allergies
  • Head lice (wet combing is recommended)
  • Indigestion remedies (for occasional use)
  • Mild acne and eczema or skin rashes
  • Travel medicines
  • First aid

Self-care advice

Pharmacists can provide advice and over-the-counter medication and there’s also a wealth of information on the NHS website and the Self Care Forum website or by calling NHS 111 by dialling 111 on your phone.

Translations of paediatric advice sheets

ગુજરાતીમાં (Gujarati) સલાહ આપનારી પત્રિકા

Poradniki po polsku

Fichas de aconselhamento em português

ردو میں مشورے کی شیٹ

View translated advice sheets in Tamil

First aid

Having a basic knowledge of first aid can save lives and it can help you to understand when someone needs to go to the hospital or when they might just need a bandage, a cup of tea and a few minutes to recover.

Basic first aid courses are run regularly in most areas around the UK. St John Ambulance and British Red Cross provide a selection of first aid courses.

Breathe Easy support groups

Breath Easy support groups provide support and information for people living with a lung condition and for those who look after them.  In Coastal West Sussex there are two Breathe Easy groups: one in Chichester and one in Worthing. Groups are run by members, with the support of the British Lung Foundation.