As a pharmacist, supporting patients with self-care management of headaches is a regular occurrence.

Nearly half of all healthcare professionals (HCPs) have concerns about the UK’s ability in self-care, a study by the pharmaceutical company Perrigo has revealed.

This view is also shared by almost 63 per cent of NHS hospital-based HCPs.

The research, commissioned by the global self-care company, noted that lack of understanding could be responsible for self-care inability, it said.

The study, covering 203 UK pharmacists and general practitioners, focused on how a lack of awareness about self-care and personal wellbeing can lead to mental health issues. It can even lead to several other lifestyle-related issues such as sleep and diet.

In the research, HCPs informed that most patients in the UK suffer from stress related to work, financial issue and the pandemic, making them sleep deprived.

It noted a 76 per cent increase in mental health related queries during the past 12 months.

Alongside Perrigo’s research, PAGB released a study on change in people’s attitude towards self-care during the pandemic.

Speaking about the survey findings, Farah Ali, chief superintendent pharmacist at Warman-Freed Learning Pharmacy, said: “Self-care is relevant to every aspect of a patient’s health and wellbeing.”

“It’s easy for patients to compartmentalise minor health issues and to view them in isolation. However, patients often underestimate how much of an impact common ailments, such as headaches, hayfever, sore joints or a cough, can have on our mental health, sleep quality, diet and wider wellbeing,” she said.

Since pharmacists and GPs are experts on self-care, they can guide people through to the the benefits of good self-care practices, she added.

“For patients coming into pharmacy and complaining of minor ailments, pharmacists could gently engage with a simple question around their self-care practices. This opens up a dialogue and encourages the patients to think about their self-care habits,” Ali said.

Laure de Brauer, senior marketing director at Perrigo UK&I, said that consumers seem to be increasingly curious about self-care, but the UK’s views still lag behind other European countries.

“As a nation, we need to do more to educate people about preventing illness, proactively  protecting their health, and managing minor ailments so they don’t escalate, and in turn, boosting overall wellbeing,” she said.

Perrigo remains committed to supporting patients’ ability to self-care and to empower them to better-manage minor ailments through the use of its branded and retailer-branded products, Brauer said.

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