Self-care means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it’s eating healthily, avoiding health hazards such as smoking or drinking too much, taking medicine when you have a cold, or doing some exercise to stay well both physically and mentally. 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.

Self-care is the best way to treat common illnesses and injuries such as coughs, colds, slight cuts and grazes. You can treat them at home with a range of medicines and a first aid kit bought from a pharmacy or supermarket.

You can prepare for many common illnesses and injuries by having a chat with your local pharmacist who can give you advice on what self-care medications to have at home.

Some of the essentials are:

Pain relief
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains.

These are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites. They’re also helpful if you have hay fever.

Fluid replacement drinks
Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make you lose water and essential minerals, and lead to dehydration. Drinking lots of water and fluid replacement drinks will help to restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid.

Indigestion treatment
Effective if you have indigestion, heartburn or trapped wind.

Keep a lotion of at least factor 15. Even brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer.

First aid
As well as the medicines above, keep a well-prepared first aid kit such as plasters, bandages and antiseptic cream. This can help to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises.

With all self-care if your symptoms recur, or if you are no better after two days, call NHS 111 for advice or contact your GP.

For more information on self-care help and advice visit