Self-care means keeping fit and healthy, as well as knowing how to take medicines, treat minor ailments and seek help when you need it. If you have a long-term condition, self-care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.
Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses and injuries. A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
Most people are very capable of looking after themselves, and most of the time self-treating is okay when it’s safe and you know where and when to seek further help if needed.
If you are unwell, remember to make the most of the range of NHS services available to you and choose the right health service for your health needs, check out the NHS service finder.
Remember that Accident and Emergency (A&E) provides vital care for life threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment.
Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units. If your GP is closed you can go to http://www.111.nhs.uk/ or call 111, which will direct you to the best local service for treatment. NHS 111 is available 24/7, 365 days a year and could save you a lengthy wait at A&E.
Information can be found on NHS website about how everyone can use self-care to improve their health and wellbeing. A fact sheet on self-care can also be found on the Self Care Forum.
The resources below have lots more information on which illnesses and injuries can be safely managed at home, how to do it and what signs to look out for that tell you it's time to get help from NHS services in your area or at hospital in an emergency.
Follow the links to find the self-care information you need.