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International Self-Care Day

International Self-Care Day is an initiative by the Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA), dedicated to promoting responsible self-care and self-medication. With over 100 000 non-prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and self-care knowledge readily available, we are well-equipped to take control of our own health and wellbeing, and save money.

According to the World Health Organisation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are the leading cause of mortality in the world. Yet did you know? Eighty percent of premature heart disease, stroke and diabetes CAN be prevented by using responsible self-care and the management of these NCDs through responsible self-care.

International Self-Care Day takes place on 24 July, because the benefits of self-care should be felt 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or 24/7.
Responsible self-care starts with the basic steps we take every day to stay healthy and take care of minor or long-term conditions, based on our own knowledge, available information and professional advice.

Self-care is maintained by using a combination of:

- Healthy lifestyle choices

- Responsible use of all medicines

- Knowing when it is necessary to see a doctor or your local pharmacist

- The use of self-monitoring and self-management

Non-prescription or over-the-counter medicines are tools to support self-care, which can be purchased without a prescription from a doctor and are safe and effective for use as directed on the label. Used responsibly, they will save you time, money and treat your condition sooner.

The benefits of practising responsible self-care is empowered individuals that have a higher self-esteem, improved wellness, longer life expectancy and a cost saving (both for public and private) that results from a reduced use of healthcare services.

Self-care is a combination of healthy lifestyle choices like physical activities and healthy food and supplementation choices, responsible use of medicines, self-recognition of symptoms and the assessment and treatment thereof, self-monitoring and self-management.

Self-medication is the use of non-prescription and over-the-counter medication to treat a health problem, including chronic problems like asthma.
Be aware of the risks of self-medicating, such as inadequate knowledge about medicine, including local culture barriers, and that incorrect self-medication might delay treatment of serious conditions.

Conditions that can be treated with self-care:

- Asthma

- Acne

- Osteoporosis

- Tooth decay

- Conjunctivitis

- Hay fever and allergic rhinitis

- Certain aches and pains

- Dehydration

- Cold and flu

- Diarrhoea

- Muscle pain and inflammation

- Constipation

Get better with Self-Care 2017

This year’s global theme is “Get better with Self-Care” and SMASA is encouraging all South Africans to take responsibility for their health and equip themselves with the right knowledge to practise self-care and responsible self-medication.