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Self-care is about looking after yourself at home. This could range from managing a long-term condition, taking medication when needed, managing a cold and eating well to being active. There are lots of minor conditions you can treat at home like coughs, colds, headaches, sore throat, minor cuts and grazes, bumps and bruises, indigestion and mild diarrhoea with your medicine cupboard and plenty of rest.

It is a good idea to have a medicine cabinet where you can keep some basic medication. In doing so it might save you going out if you are not feeling well or if the weather is bad. The following medicines might be useful:

  • painkillers
  • anti-diarrhoeal tablets/oral rehydration salts
  • plasters and bandages
  • bite and sting relief spray or cream
  • antiseptic cream
  • indigestion treatment
  • a thermometer
  • cough medicine
  • antihistamine medicine
  • sun cream

Always follow the directions on medicine packets and information leaflets, never exceed the stated dose and make sure the medicine not out of date.

Your local pharmacy
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Your local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment.

Some of the things pharmacies can help with include aches, pains, stopping smoking, medicines, advice, the morning after pill, hay fever, coughs, colds, diarrhoea, allergies, skin conditions and flu jabs.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence and you do not need to make an appointment. It is possible to walk into any community pharmacy and ask to speak with the pharmacist.

They may be able to spend some time with you or offer you an appointment for a consultation. All the discussions with your pharmacist can take place in person or by phone. Most pharmacies have a private consultation area where patients can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard by other members of the public.

To find your nearest pharmacy click here.

You can also call 111 to find your nearest pharmacy at the weekend or out of hours.

Your local GP
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Your local GP

GPs or General Practitioners deal with a whole range of health problems. They also offer advice and run clinics, give vaccinations and some carry out simple surgical operations. You would normally see GPs or other healthcare professionals at their surgery. If your GP cannot deal with a problem then you will usually be referred to a hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.

If you have an illness or injury that will not go away, make an appointment with your GP or telephone for advice. They provide a range of services by appointment and when absolutely essential can make home visits.

Some things GPs can help with are: Flu jabs, persistent ear pain, persistent back ache, persistent vomiting or diarrhoea, allergic reactions, long-term conditions, counselling and emotional problems.

To find your local GP surgery click here

Out of hours GP service

Sometimes you might need to see a GP urgently in the evenings or at weekends. If your usual GP practice is closed then it is still possible to see a GP or get advice from a GP over the phone. To contact an out of hours GP, just call 111 and you will be connected to the NHS 111 service, which can help you access the out of hours services across the West Norfolk and Wisbech areas.

NHS 111
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NHS 111

NHS 111 is a phone number to call when you need medical help or advice urgently but it is not a life-threatening situation. Calling 111 will connect you to a team of fully trained call advisers, who are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask you questions to assess the symptoms, and give you healthcare advice or direct you to the most appropriate and available local service.

You should use 111 if:

  • it is not a 999 emergency;
  • you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service but you are not sure;
  • you do not think you can wait for an appointment with your GP or
  • you do not know who to call for medical help.

When you call 111 you will be assessed, given advice and directed straightaway to the local service that can help you best – that could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre or urgent care centre, community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free.

Emergency Department  A&E
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Emergency Department A&E

You should only go to the Emergency Department (A&E) or call 999 when it is a critical or life threatening emergency. People who make unnecessary visits to A&E slow down a service that, for some, can make the difference between life and death. 

Emergency situations include:
Stroke, overdose, choking, blacking out, open wound, blood loss, loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, persistent severe chest pain.

Helpful Guides

These documents provide useful information about dealing with common injuries and illnesses and advice about which healthcare service is the most appropriate to treat them.