BackCare is supporting Self-Care Week 2015, which is being run by the Self-Care Forum. This year’s theme is Self-Care for Life and its key aims is to help people take control of their health throughout their whole life by helping them to better understand how to look after any minor ailments or long-term conditions they may have, and how to prevent ill health by choosing healthy options for good physical and mental wellbeing.

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.

Stuart Blackman, Chief Executive of BackCare, said:

 “It is important that people learn how to take care of themselves by enjoying a good diet and regular exercise so that they remain fit and healthy, and that they know what to do when feeling a bit under the weather rather than going straight to their GP or A&E at the first sign of a sniffle or cough.

“Taking greater responsibility for your own health and well-being not only benefits you but also the wider community and the NHS by not going to your GP or A&E for a minor ailment that you can treat yourself with an on-the-counter medicine and guidance from your local pharmacist.”

Dr Adam Al Kashi, Head of Research at BackCare:

“People go to their GP with a minor ailment because they are unsure how long symptoms last and need reassurance that it isn’t anything more serious. Before booking an appointment at your local surgery, it is worthwhile going to see your local pharmacist first.

“Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who can explain the normal duration of minor ailments and give advice on symptom relief. You may even be able to treat yourself at home with a well-stocked medicine cupboard, especially if you have a sore throat, a cold or a cough.”

With access to the right information, 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.

There is a lot of information on NHS Choices about how everyone can use self-care to improve their health and wellbeing. Topics include how to:

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Stop smoking
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Eat more healthily
  • Manage common ailments yourself

If someone has a long-term condition, the NHS guide Your Health, Your Way at will show how self-care can help people cope better with their condition and get more out of life.

People can read about how to make small changes to improve their lifestyle, and use interactive healthy living tools to get personalised advice on how to improve their lifestyle.

Residents can also get health advice 24 hours a day from NHS 111, and use the NHS Choices online symptom checker for help and advice.