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Self Care

Watch our video of useful tips on looking after yourself or seeking medical help when you have a common, self-limiting condition

Read our handy guide to self-care

Our booklet will tell you:

  • how long you should give a common ailment to clear up before seeking treatment
  • what you should have in your medicine cabinet
  • how little it costs to get your medicine cabinet in good shape
  • how much an average prescription costs the NHS - far more than the cost of over-the-counter medicines for common, self-limiting conditions.

Read our tips on reducing your risk of falling

Prescribing for minor conditions

 

 

Your GP, nurse or pharmacist will generally not give you a prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for a range of minor health conditions.

Instead, OTC medicines are available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket. Look up your nearest pharmacy.

The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage minor health concerns. If your symptoms suggest it's more serious, they'll ensure you get the care you need.

You can buy OTC medicines for any of these conditions:

  • acute sore throat
  • minor burns and scalds
  • conjunctivitis
  • mild cystitis
  • coughs, colds and nasal congestion
  • mild dry skin
  • cradle cap
  • mild irritant dermatitis
  • dandruff
  • mild to moderate hay fever
  • diarrhoea (adults)
  • dry eyes and sore tired eyes
  • mouth ulcers
  • earwax
  • nappy rash
  • excessive sweating
  • infant colic
  • sunburn
  • infrequent cold sores of the lip
  • sun protection
  • infrequent constipation
  • teething or mild toothache
  • infrequent migraine
  • threadworms
  • insect bites and stings
  • travel sickness
  • mild acne
  • warts and verrucae
  • haemorrhoids (piles)
  • oral thrush
  • head lice
  • prevention of tooth decay
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • ringworm or athlete's foot
  • minor pain, discomfort and fever (such as aches and sprains, headache, period pain and back pain)

For information on how these conditions are treated, look up your condition here.

Click here to read our Prescribing Commissioning Policy, describing those OTC items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care.

Exceptions

In some cases, you can still get prescriptions for medicines used to treat these conditions.

You may still be prescribed a medicine for a condition on the list if:

  • you need treatment for a long-term condition, for example regular pain relief for chronic arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • you need treatment for more complex forms of minor illnesses, for example migraines that are very bad and where OTC medicines do not work
  • you need an OTC medicine to treat a side effect of a prescription medicine or symptom of another illness, such as constipation, when taking certain painkillers
  • the medicine has a licence that doesn't allow the product to be sold to certain groups of patients. This could include babies, children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • the person prescribing thinks that a patient cannot treat themselves, for example because of mental health problems.

Probiotics, vitamins and minerals

GPs, nurses or pharmacists will also generally no longer prescribe probiotics and some vitamins and minerals. You can get these from eating a healthy, varied and balanced diet or buy them at your pharmacy or supermarket.

Why is the NHS reducing these prescriptions?

The NHS currently spends around £136m a year on prescriptions for medicines, such as paracetamol, that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket, .

By reducing the amount it spends on OTC medicines, the NHS can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and mental health problems.

 

Read our seven steps to self-caring for minor conditions.

Find out how long it takes for coughs, colds and sore throats to clear up on their own - or with a little help from your community pharmacist

 

 

 

See below for an interesting video created by South and Vale Royal CCG's to highlight the benefits of self-care.