​Taking care of yourself at home

pills.jpgHome is where most of us want to be when we're ill. Yet many people still visit the GP or A&E for conditions that could be treated at home. This is known as 'self-care'. With self-care you can take control and start to feel better quicker.

Your local pharmacist can support you to self-care with advice on treatments, minor illnesses and provide reassurance.

There are many pharmacies in Lewisham, often open for long hours and on weekends too.

Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who can treat and advise on common illnesses.

You don't need an appointment to see your local pharmacist.

You can have a confidential consultation with your pharmacist in a private are of the pharmacy.  Anything you say to the pharmacist is treated with confidence.

The Pharmacy First scheme is available to support you to access medication for short-term minor illnesses directly from your pharmacist.

If your problem needs the attention of a GP, your pharmacist is trained to recognise this and advise you to see your GP.

You can find a list of local pharmacies and opening times here.


GPs in Lewisham will no longer routinely prescribe these self-care medicines:  

  • Acne creams
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medication for short term use (up to 72 hours)
  • Anti-fungal treatment for short term minor illnesses
  • Antiperspirants
  • Cold sore treatment
  • Colic treatment
  • Cough and cold remedies
  • Camouflage creams
  • Ear wax removers
  • Eye drops for short term use and minor illnesses
  • Hay fever treatments
  • Head lice and scabies treatment
  • Herbal and complimentary supplements
  • Homeopathic preparations
  • Indigestion remedies for minor illness or short term use
  • Laxatives for short term use (up to 72 hours)
  • Mouthwashes and mouth ulcer treatment
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Painkillers for short term use
  • Haemorrhoidal (piles) preparations for short term use (5 -7 days)
  • Rubefacients (creams and ointments which increase blood flow to treat pain)
  • Sun creams
  • Threadworm treatment
  • Topical steroids for short term use (up to a week) for bites, stings or mild dermatitis
  • Vitamins (excluding: folic acid (folate), vitamins D and B12)

  • Warts and verruca treatment

Stock up your medicine cabinetplaster on knee.jpg

Try to ensure your medicine cabinet has all the basics:

                    1. Pain killlers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
                    2. Antihistamine for allergies
                    3. Bandages
                    4. Rub-on anti-inflammatory painkillers
                    5. Oral rehydration salts
                    6. Indigestion remedies
                    7. Laxatives
                    8. Anti-diarrhoea medicine
                    9. Cream or spray to treat insect bites and stings or cuts and grazes
                    10. Plasters and dressings
                    11. A thermometer(digital, underarm and or ear thermometer)

Make sure medicines in your cabinet are still okay to use.  If medicines are past their use-by date, do not use them. Always keep medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

What if my child needs medicines while at school?

Write to the school giving permission for your child to take the medicine.  Guidance from the Department of Education makes it clear that a child can take non-prescription self-care medicines with written permission from a parent or guardian.  It is not necessary for GPs to write to schools to confirm that it is appropriate to administer self-care medicines.

The age at which children are ready to take their own medicines varies. As children grow and develop, they shouls be encouraged to participate in decisions about their medicines and take responsibilty for their own medicines.

Self-care Information Leaflets

If you need this information in another language or alternative format please email lewccg.enquiry@nhs.net or call 020 3049 3200