What is self-care?

Self-care refers to the actions we take to recognise, treat and manage our own health. It’s about doing small, everyday things for yourself to keep healthy and happy.

What are the benefits?

Self-care is good for you and for the NHS. There are lots of benefits to self-care, we believe it’s:


No need to wait for a GP appointment. You can buy the medicines you need over the counter at your local pharmacy or supermarket and have them ready to use at home.


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Many treatments can be bought without the need for a prescription at your local pharmacy or supermarket, often for much less than a prescription charge.


Advice and information about self-care is widely available online. You can also call into any pharmacy for advice on the best treatment for your minor illness.


Self-care helps relieve pressures on GP practices, A&E and could potentially save the NHS around £136m every year.

Where can I go for advice?

There is lots of information now available to support self-care and to help manage minor illnesses.


Online self-care advice for minor illness


The NHS Website

NHS UK: Homepage

The NHS website is the UK’s biggest health website. It has lots of advice on illnesses and how to treat them.


This free app offers help and advice for parents and carers looking after children with the common childhood illnesses. This can be downloaded via the app store on itunes and Google Play.


Online advice for general self-care and wellbeing


Live Life Better Derbyshire
This website offers friendly advice on feeling fitter, losing weight and quitting smoking. Live Life Better Derbyshire staff know it can be tough to make changes and will be with you every step of the way offering free support and advice.

Livewell’s caring experts offer free advice and support. Helping you to lose weight, stop smoking, get fitter and transform your life.

One You
One You is another great website to help you make small changes that fit your life, so you feel better and healthier, every day.


Pharmacists are trained professionals who are ready to give advice on the best treatment for minor conditions such as:

Cold, headaches, cold sores, head lice, conjunctivitis, heartburn, constipation, indigestion, cough, insect bites, dental pain, migraines, diarrhoea, nappy rash, dry eyes, rashes, dry skin, sore throat, earache, teething, fever, temperature, haemorrhoids, threadworm, hay-fever and thrush.

Most pharmacies offer a private consultation room where they can offer confidential advice. Pharmacists can talk you through your symptoms and offer advice and reassurance about how long these may last and what to do if they continue or get worse.

NHS 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

When you call 111, an advisor will ask you some questions to help assess your symptoms. Once they have done this they will offer you advice or direct you to the best service for you in the local area.

What should I do if I am trying to self-care but my symptoms persist?

If you look your illness up on NHS UK: Homepage it will tell you how long symptoms normally last. If your symptoms are lasting more than you would have expected then you should seek further advice from your pharmacist or GP.

Preparing to self-care

Be prepared and stock up your medicine cabinet. These affordable key items will help when you or your family and friends are feeling under the weather.

The NHS recommends:


Pain killers
Cold and flu remedies
Anti-diarrhoea medication
Oral rehydration salts
Indigestion remedies

First Aid

Eyewash solution
Sterile dressing

Having some medicines at home means peace of mind.