NHS Self Care

Self care is about looking after yourself in a healthy way​

Many common conditions can be treated at home with the support of your local pharmacy if needed. Over the counter products for self care are things like pain relief, hay fever medication and cough and cold remedies. These items can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription.

Get the Right Treatment

Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that can be easily resolved without a doctor’s appointment.

It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete’s foot. By visiting your pharmacy instead, you could save yourself time and trouble.


Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.

Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.

Your Local Pharmacist

Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time – you don’t need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. Your local Pharmacist can also advise on healthy eating. 

Pharmacists can also advise on healthy eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from a chemist without a prescription.  Watch this short video on how you can get the most out of your local pharmacy.

NHS Walk-In Centres

NHS Walk-In Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services for patients based in England only. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:

  • infection and rashes,
  • fractures and lacerations,
  • emergency contraception and advice,
  • stomach upsets,
  • cuts and bruises, or
  • burns and strains

NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.

Accident & Emergency (A&E)

Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness,
  • pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia,
  • acute confused state,
  • persistent, severe chest pain, or
  • breathing difficulties

If you’re injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.

Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and are usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.

A well stocked medicine cabinet


Following NHS guidance, GP surgeries in this area are asked to not routinely prescribe over-the-counter medication.

Looking after yourself when you’re feeling under the weather with a minor illness is easy if you already have a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

You can get advice and purchase medicines at little cost from community pharmacies rather than getting a prescription. Some medicines are also available from supermarkets and other shops.

Why not set up your own home medicine cabinet so that you have things on hand when you need them.

Remember to always keep to the dosage instructions and make sure all medicines are in date – for more information see www.bnssgccg.nhs.uk/pharmacyfirst


Online resources for self help guidance

There are plenty of resources available online that will help you with many minor illnesses. Click on the logos (below) to be taken to the main resources providing helpful guidance and useful information on how you can help yourself, or go to the Health Information section of this website for additional support and information. Our online resources page also lists many other useful web tools and apps.

Clevedon Minor Injury Unit

Clevedon Minor Injury Unit (MIU) offers treatment for adults and children over three years of age for a wide range of minor injuries.

You can drop in with no appointment necessary. All patients are seen by an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP).

Find out more about the Clevedon MIU, the opening hours, the location and how to contact them.

GetUBetter app

Do you have musculoskeletal pain and want to help yourself?

The getUBetter app is provided free of charge by BNSSG CCG for patients registered at Tudor Lodge Surgery. It can be accessed on a Smartphone or on the Web and guides you day-by-day through a sequence of exercises and tips to help you get better from a range of new or recurrent musculoskeletal conditions:

Lower back pain, Back and leg pain, Neck Pain Shoulder Pain, Ankle Pain, Knee Pain and Soft Tissue Lower Limb.

You will be referred to the App by one of our GPs or Physio, or you can self-register by clicking on this link or the App image, Please use an email address that is unique to you and select the condition you need help to manage. You will then be sent an email with all the information you need to get started. You can download the getUBetter App to your Smartphone for easiest access or use the Webapp If you develop another condition register again with the same email address, select your new condition and it will be added to your account. The app will also connect you to your local; treatment, healthcare providers or support services if needed like Physiotherapy.

Visit GetUBetter App

Other Online Resources

There are a number of ways to access self-help online, with guidance on what to do if you have a minor illness or injury. The links below provide plenty of information on how you can help yourself. In addition, the Health Informaiton section of our website can signpost you to other support services.

Frequently asked questions

You may be surprised that you have not been given a prescription for an antibiotic when you have been told “you have an infection”. This is because many infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics kill bacteria but have no effect on viruses. Viruses cause most infections of the nose, throat, ears and chest. Stomach upsets (diarrhoea and vomiting) as well as the flu are also viral infections. Our own immune system gets rid of these infections, antibiotics have no effect. There are also good reasons to not use antibiotics when they are not needed; antibiotics may cause side effects such as diarrhoea, rashes, feeling sick, etc. These may develop on top of any other symptoms from the virus infection. In the past, overuse of antibiotics when they have not been necessary has led to some bacteria becoming resistant to treatment. This means that they are not as effective when they are really needed. Antibiotics do not speed up recovery of most nose, throat, ear, chest, stomach and flu illnesses.

Viruses can go on for several days and make you feel unwell. We can’t give anything to get rid of the infection but you can use things to ease the symptoms such as paracetamol or aspirin to ease any aches, pains, headaches and reduce fever. Aspirin must not be given to children under 12. Paracetamol liquid such as Calpol and Disprol are best for children. Also having a lot to drink prevents mild dehydration. This may develop if there is a fever and can cause a headache and feeling of tiredness (common with virus infections) much worse. Do not wrap up but try to cool down if you have a fever. This is particularly important in young children. Take the clothes off young children if they have a fever and give paracetamol (Calpol). It is quite safe and a good idea for children to get some fresh air. Do not over wrap them when you take them out, just put on their normal outside clothing. You can also use the technique of ‘tepid sponging’- placing the child in a bath of luke warm (NOT COLD) water to help bring the temperature down. Your pharmacist is also always a good source of advice.

Most virus infections clear without complications. Occasionally a virus infection may develop into a more serious condition. It is best to see a doctor to review the situation if the illness appears to change, becomes worse or if you are worried about any new symptoms.

For some very serious conditions such as severe bleeding, chest pain suggesting a heart attack, or severe shortness of breath, it may be more sensible to dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. The crew on board the ambulance provide emergency care as well as rapid transport to hospital. This is often the quickest lifesaving treatment. In cases of injury, where a broken bone is suspected or stitches may be needed, going straight to the hospital often makes more sense than calling your family doctor, who may not have the facilities to deal with this kind of problem.

Many common illnesses (coughs, colds, sore throats, ear-ache and upset stomachs) may be eased by a simple home remedy or medicine such as a painkiller or other medicine easily obtained from your chemist, who will be happy to advise you. Remember the quick and easy way of getting medical advice is to call NHS 111 on 111.