Consumer Health Products & You

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Self-care and your health

Would you be surprised to know that more than 80 per cent of all health care is self-care? It's true. Every time you make a decision about how you will address your own health and well-being, and that of your family, you are practicing self-care.

The range of decisions available is broad and varied. Self-care can include choosing to do things that prevent illnesses, such as eating a nutritional diet, engaging in physical activities, practicing good daily hygiene, and taking nutritional supplements. When you or a loved one has an ailment, self-care can include using consumer health products to gain relief from the ailment. Self-care can also include deciding that the best course of action for you is to see a health professional; it may also be to do nothing.

People across Canada have expressed an eagerness to take a more active role in their personal health. Through initiative and education of the benefits of informed self-care, you and millions of other Canadians can play an important role in improving your own well-being and that of your family.

Value of supporting and practicing self-care

Studies in many industrialized countries show the same thing: many patients are visiting doctors for self-treatable conditions. The United Kingdom has the most recent statistics: one in five of the annual 290 million visits to General Practitioners involve minor ailments and 18 per cent of all GP consultations are for minor ailments only.

Consumer surveys conducted in Canada suggest that the burden of self-treatable illness on the Canadian healthcare system is likely to be similar.

There is broad recognition in Canada and abroad that arming consumers with better information on how to manage their own health can improve outcomes and contribute to more efficient use of healthcare resources.

Consumer Health Products Canada estimates that if only 10 per cent of people who currently seek formal care as a first step in treating a self-treatable illness were to practice self-care instead, an additional 240,000 Canadians could gain access to a primary care physician.