WEEKEND WEB: Take advice and look after you this wintertime

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Dr Kevin Hill prescribes some wise advice for winter in DOCTOR CALLING...

Self Care Week runs until Sunday. Empowering individuals to self care has many benefits for their short-term and long-term health, both physically and emotionally.

Helping people to look after their own and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

Self care is all about knowing how to live healthier lives by changing habits and lifestyle choices. It is also about knowing what minor ailments, such as hay fever or cuts and grazes you can treat yourself with a well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit, and how pharmacists can help with over the counter medicines.

As winter approaches, by being clear on good self care practices and alternative places to get health advice and minor treatment, you can make sure you and your family stay healthy over the colder months. There is a wealth of information available on the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk/selfcare - to help you look after yourself when suffering from more minor conditions.

Your local pharmacy can be a great source of information and advice. In addition, urgent care centres or minor injuries units can often see patients quickly. If it’s urgent but not an emergency, call NHS 111.

Great self care goes another step beyond preparing or caring for winter illnesses and injuries, and can include being more active and gaining the confidence to try a new activity or find a sports club with Active Lincolnshire (www.activelincolnshire.com/activityfinder), or learning how you can drink less, reduce your stress levels or sleep well, all through the national One You campaign (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou).

Staying active is key to many aspects of our health - lifting your mood, as well as keeping you fit. Volunteering or joining a social group can also benefit both your physical and mental health.

If we all take steps to look after ourselves now, we can avoid illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and live a longer and happier life.