Leading doctors at NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are urging local residents to take simple measures to stay well this winter by becoming more knowledgeable about their health.
The message comes as national Self Care Week is launched. The annual event, which this year runs from the 14th to the 20th November, will focus on ‘Understanding Self Care for Life’ with the intention being to raise awareness of how you can take control of your health.
‘Self Care for Life’ means eating properly, taking regular exercise and looking after symptoms of common everyday illness. It’s also about understanding any long term conditions you may have and managing those on a daily basis.
Dr Phil Huxley, a Pendle GP and Chair at NHS East Lancashire CCG, said: “Looking after yourself doesn’t have to be challenging. It can be as simple as eating a healthy well balanced diet and ensuring you have regular exercise. However, many people don’t realise the simple steps they can take to look after themselves. By boosting how you care for yourself, you can make a genuine positive impact on your physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
Here are some simple steps to help yourself stay well this winter and help to prevent avoidable conditions:
• Move more – You don’t even have to join a gym, just walk the dog, leave the car at home, ignore the bus, take the stairs, dance around the kitchen table, go for a walk.
• Stop smoking – One of the best things you can do for your health is to stop smoking. Ask your local pharmacist about stop smoking services.
• Sleep – A good night’s sleep is essential to good physical and mental health so don’t burn the candle at both ends, make sure you get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
• Eat well – It is vitally important that we get the nutrients we need and avoid excessive amounts of salt, fat and sugar. food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
• Relax – We have such busy lives that we sometimes forget to take time out to relax, but it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Find time in the day to be still and quieten your mind, holistic exercise such as yoga can also be helpful.
• Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
• Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.
Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, added: “We can’t highlight enough the importance of self care. Self-Care Week provides us with an ideal opportunity to stress the benefits of taking care of yourself and also recognising when to self-care and when to seek advice.
“People commonly visit their local GP over something that can easily be treated by themselves at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet or some over the counter remedies at their local pharmacist. Our advice would be to consider the right option for you, especially when it is a minor illness or ailment.”
Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.