Self Care

Written by: 
Dr Knut Schroeder, General Practitioner and Author, Diagnosing Your Health Symptoms For Dummies

Everyone falls ill at some stage – and knowing what to do next may not always be easy. But in the same way as you don’t have to be an engineer to sort out simple computing problems or check out why your hoover doesn’t suck properly, you can manage many simple health problems yourself without medical training. All you need is some basic knowledge – and a little confidence!

Here are some examples of how you can self-manage certain health problems, such as a a sore throat, headache, pain, fever, and many others:

Making use of time as a healer

Thanks to the capabilities of your body – and mind- for self-repair, many illnesses like common viral infections, coughs and colds, or sleep problems often sort themselves out, without the need to do anything. For example, an ordinary cold may last for a week and a half, and it can be entirely normal for a cough to last around three weeks.

Using RICE for an injury

If you injure or strain any of your ‘soft tissues’ (such as muscles or ligaments) through sports or an accident, you can often shorten your recovery time and ease the pain by using a treatment method called RICE – which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - in addition to over-the-counter pain relief.

Taking things easy

Many illnesses are caused – or made worse –by simply doing too much. If you’re suffering from a muscleTissue made up of cells that can contract to bring about movement. strain or a cold for example, try not to overdo things and cut down on unnecessary activities until you feel better.

Employing home remedies

Many people find home remedies effective – and the good news is that they’re often cheap as chips and readily available. Steam inhalation for a blocked nose, lemon and honey for colds, and added fibre for constipation are just a few examples.

Taking over-the-counter medicines – sensibly

When you’re unwell, remember that you can head for your local pharmacy, where you can get a variety of over-the-counter medicines for treating minor medical conditions. Even if you’re not sure if a suitable treatment is available for your health problem, your local pharmacist no doubt will have the right advice for you.

But if you decide that you can’t deal with a particular health problem yourself, the treatments you try fail to work, or if you’re not sure whether a problem may be serious, you’re likely to need further advice and help from a health professional.