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Self-Care FAQs

Self-Care FAQs

It’s International Self-Care Day on July 24th. A few questions arise when thinking of your self-caring habits. SMASA answers your FAQs to ensure you take charge of your health and well-being.

1. What does “self-care” mean?

Self-care is a lifelong habit and culture. It is the action individuals take for themselves and their families to stay healthy and take care of minor and long-term conditions, based on their knowledge and the information available, and working in collaboration with health and social care professionals where necessary. Making responsible use of medicines is one aspect of self-care.

2. What is meant by “responsible self-medication”?

Responsible self-medication is the act of treating common health problems and/or managing chronic conditions with medicines especially designed and labeled for use without medical supervision and approved as safe and effective for such use.

3. Where can one buy medicines available for self-medication?

Non-prescription medicines or Over The Counter (OTC) products are available without a doctor’s prescription through pharmacies. In some countries OTC products are also available in supermarkets and other outlets. In South Africa, some OTC products can be found at petrol stations.

4. How do I know that a medicine available for self-medication is right for me?

Every OTC medicine has specific instructions for safe use on its label and should be followed precisely. The instructions or directions tell you what amount of medicine to take, how to take it, when you should take it, and when not to take it. If one has questions before using a medicine, they should always contact their doctor, pharmacist or other health professional.

5. What are the four major health risks?

The four major health risks include a sedentary lifestyle, risky drinking, unhealthy diet and smoking. These health risks lead to many diseases, loss of functioning and even death.


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.

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.