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Self-care and stay well this winter

Celebrating the ways to live well, stay active and take care of our health; Self-care week promotes the advice and support available that helps people to take the reins in caring for their own health.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation that commissions local healthcare services, is supporting healthy independent living this ‘Self Care Week 2014’ with a focus on being healthy this winter.

Dr Mark Hayes, the CCG’s Chief Clinical Officer, said: “Self-care doesn’t mean patients will receive less help from their doctor; local healthcare specialists are still on hand to offer advice and support. It means taking care of our own health and wellbeing, whether it’s taking medicine when we have a cold or knowing when to seek advice and where that advice should come from.

“Preventing ill health is vital during winter so choose lifestyle options that will impact positively on your physical health, mental wellbeing and self-esteem such as eating well, stopping smoking and staying active.”

It is important for those with a long term condition to prepare for winter by ensuring you don’t run out of medication. Many pharmacists offer repeat prescription services without the need to see your GP and can give advice on managing your medicines.

NHS Choices can also provide helpful information on common winter ailments such as coughs, colds and sore throats. Symptoms may sometimes last longer than you might expect and it is helpful to know what is normal and what isn’t. It is also important to understand that antibiotics don’t work on colds or flu. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections whereas colds and flu are caused by viruses.

Dr Hayes added: “First and foremost, I would urge people to keep warm and eat well this winter. Self-treat minor illnesses and injuries at home by keeping your medicine cabinet and first aid kit well stocked.

“The main symptoms of minor winter bugs are coughing, sneezing, blocked nose, sore throat, headache and a slight temperature. Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug is rife at winter too, but with plenty of fluids, self-medication, hand hygiene and self-care, this and other winter bugs should clear up in a few days.

“Sometimes, however, a minor illness can get worse quickly – this is more of a risk for our older population, the very young and those with a long term condition. If you have any concerns speak to your family, carer or local pharmacist as soon as possible.”

For more information on self care, alternatives to A&E and to find your nearest local health service please visit: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search

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