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How can you benefit from self-care?

by Dr Alison Harvey, GP at Chillington Health Centre

As you may have seen in our previous article, ‘self-care' ranges from simple acts like eating healthily and exercising, to treating common ailments and managing long-term conditions.

The benefits of eating well and staying fit are fairly obvious – it makes you feel good and helps you avoid a range of illnesses.

But what about common conditions, like sore throats and colds? What are the advantages of treating yourself, rather than making an appointment to see your GP?

First and foremost, it’s quicker. 

Rather than wait for a GP appointment, you can instantly access a wide range of reliable, NHS-approved online resources and find out more about your ailment. And, normally, you can get the medicines you need over the counter at the supermarket or your local pharmacy.

Self-care is also more convenient. 

As I mentioned above, information and guidance are widely available online – often in the form of easy-to-use and purpose-built apps and websites. Your local pharmacist will also be on-hand to give you advice without the need for an appointment. And, if you need treatment, you can usually get the medicine over the counter without the need for a prescription.

Plus, self-care helps sustain the NHS. 

In the UK, millions of GP consultations every year are used to discuss ailments that could be treated at home. At a time when increasing demand is being placed on NHS staff and resources, treating yourself, where possible, can take pressure off the system and enable us to and prioritise the care of people who need it most.

Keep an eye on our forthcoming articles when we’ll be looking in more detail at the self-care resources that are available.