Self-care means looking after your health and wellbeing, and knowing how to take medicines correctly, treat minor illnesses and where to go for help when you need it.
Dr Iain Chorlton, a family GP and NHS Kernow chairman, said: “There are some really simple things people can do to take care of their own health.
“Visiting your doctor to help with common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, upset tummies and sore throats is not the right place to go. You can treat many of these conditions with over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol and aspirin, getting rest and making sure you drink plenty of fluids. If you do chose to visit your doctor with these common ailments, you could put yourself at greater risk of infection – and make other vulnerable people ill – by spreading germs.
“Your friendly local pharmacist can offer expert, free advice and treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments including coughs, sticky eyes, water infections, rashes and oral thrush. They can arrange for an emergency supply of any regular medication you need until you can see your GP.”
Pharmacists can also advise you on what you should include in your medicine cabinet so that you can treat minor ailments at home. Make sure you keep it fully stocked with not just medicines but also plasters, antiseptic and sterile wipes for cuts and grazes.
Help yourself and help protect others by getting your flu jab. Many people are eligible for a free flu jab from their GP or pharmacist and even if you can’t get a free jab you can get yourself one at a pharmacy for about the price of a couple of magazines.
Plasters and paracetamol aren’t the only way to look after yourself, and people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being invited to think about what they can do around one (or more) of the five ways to wellbeing.
- Connect – meet up with friends, neighbours or family.
- Be active – Go for a walk, play a game, ride a bike or maybe even dance, exercising makes you feel good.
- Take notice – Be curious, notice beautiful things or be aware of what’s around you, they’ll help you appreciate what matters.
- Keep learning – try something new, learn an instrument or language or cook something new, learning helps you be more confident.
- Give – volunteering, join a community group or even just say thank you, it can be very rewarding and helps build connections.
Ruth Goldstein, from Cornwall Council’s Wellbeing and Public Health team, said:
“Doing something each day from the five ways of wellbeing is a really great way to look after our own health. For example, you might give your time as a volunteer, combating your own loneliness which can often lead to long-term health conditions, while helping someone else.”
“Contact Volunteer Cornwall for details of how to help other people: www.volunteercornwall.org.uk.
“If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes there are walking groups available through social prescribing such as the one at the Eden Project in St Austell, which provides an opportunity to be active, make new friends and get support.
Dr Chorlton added: “We’re asking people to think carefully about the most appropriate place for treatment for their condition and to consider if self-care is an appropriate and safe option, but to always seek help if they need it.
“Our aim is to make sure people use the right service, at the right time and in the right place and help people with long-term conditions not only manage them but live happier and more empowered lives.”