NHS encourages patients to learn how to treat common illnesses during Self-Care Week

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With the winter season just beginning, the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is making it easier for people to find out how to treat minor illnesses themselves.

During Self-Care Week, the three local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are sharing a series of animations that give basic advice for treating common ailments, together with more detailed advice online.

Coughs, colds, tummy upsets and back pain are just some of the conditions covered, as well as what to do when children are unwell or have hurt themselves.

Professor Fahad Rizvi, GP and clinical lead for urgent care with West Leicestershire CCG, said: “Winter’s the time when we see more common illnesses going around such as sore throats, colds, coughs and stomach bugs. If you’re generally quite healthy, you can usually treat these illnesses at home with rest and over the counter medications. I often find that patients come to see me or my fellow colleagues wanting reassurance for themselves or their loved ones.  What we find is that actually they are more capable than they think of taking care of their illness themselves, it’s just a matter of helping to build their confidence.

“Self-care is not the same as no-care, and our information is all about the simple practical steps you can take to help yourself feel better and recover as soon as possible. We also provide advice on how long you can expect to feel ill for and when you should seek medical attention – it’s very important to know when it is safe to treat yourself and at what point you should really seek professional help. For example, cough and fever are quite common symptoms if you have a cold or flu; they will often get better by themselves and you are unlikely to need antibiotics or a visit to the GP. But if you also have another health condition like diabetes, or heart, lung or kidney disease, you should see your GP or a clinician if you are feeling unwell.”

 

Common illnesses

Most people are better by

Earache (middle ear infection)

8 days

Sore throat

7 to 8 days

Sinusitis/Nasal congestion (adults only)

14 to 21 days

Cold

14 days

Cough or bronchitis

21 days

 

As well as the animations and online tips, a locally produced booklet is also available. The Good Health Guide offers comprehensive self-care advice plus information on the NHS services that help prevent ill health, such as immunisations, and services that can detect early signs of illness. These include NHS Health Checks and screening programmes for certain types of cancer, which can help to find them at an early stage, when they are easier to treat. 

The booklet also gives tips on where to get support with making healthy life choices because, although most people know this will help them to stay well, it can be difficult to change unhealthy habits. Smoking, too much alcohol, unhealthy food and drink and not doing enough exercise are all linked to the illnesses that cause early death: heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory (breathing) diseases.

The campaign is being promoted on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #selfcareweek, and on TV screens in GP practice waiting rooms. The Good Health Guide can be downloaded from Leicester City CCG’s website. The booklet is also available in Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu and Polish, available online and in a paper version. To request copies in any of these languages please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0116 295 1116.

Visit the local NHS Self Care website