Fact Sheets

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What are the fact sheets for?
The Self Care Forum fact sheets aim to help clinicians and patients discuss issues around self care within the practice consultation and especially how to handle the symptoms in the future. They provide patients with information on:

  • Useful facts
  • What patients can expect to happen (the natural history)
  • What people can do to help themselves – now and in the future
  • When to seek medical help (the ‘red flags’)
  • Where to find out more

For more details about how the factsheets were developed see here.

Nutritional factsheets can be found here.

Download the fact sheets below


1. Back Pain

2. Eczema

3. Heartburn and indigestion

4. Fever in children

5. Constipation

6. Headache and migraine

7. Cough

8. Acne

9. Sprains and strains

10. Sore throat

11. Middle ear infection (otitis media)

12. Common cold in adults

13. Sinusitis

14. Urine symptoms in men

15. Venous disease – Looking after your legs

16. COVID19 Series – Boosting your mood

17. COVID19 Series – Getting help from your pharmacist

18. Urinary Incontinence (Leakage) In Adults *New to 2021*

Further information about incontinence is available at the HARTMANN Advice Centre.   

19. COVID19 Series – Long COVID/ Post COVID Syndrome *New to 2021*

How were the Fact Sheets developed?
They were produced by the Self Care Forum Board.  We used the following resources for developing the fact sheets:

  • Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
  • Guidelines from the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)
  • Publications produced by the UK Royal Colleges and major charities
  • Selected major peer reviewed scientific articles
  • NHS Website
  • Patient UK

The Fact Sheets were assessed at draft stages by members of the Self Care Forum board and Trustees, many of whom represent major national patient and professional organisations. Patient representatives also reviewed the fact sheets, checking them for readability and understanding. 

The Fact Sheets have been produced and independently verified by the Self Care Forum, which is responsible for the content overall. 

How can the Fact Sheets be used?
The Fact Sheets are free to download from the Self Care Forum website and may be reproduced, copied, printed and distributed without further permission.  If however, the content is altered permission would need to be sought.

Key References for the SCF Fact Sheets:

General references
We used the following general resources for producing the Self Care Forum Fact Sheets:

  1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines, www.nice.org.uk
  2. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) Guidelines, www.sign.ac.uk
  3. NHS, www.nhs.uk
  4. NHS111, NHS111
  5. Clinical Knowledge Summaries, NICE
  6. PatientUK, patient.info

In addition, every fact sheet has undergone expert peer-review.

Selected key references used for individual fact sheets

1. Low Back Pain

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guideline CG88 – Low Back Pain. Available at http://www.nice.org.uk/CG88.

2. Eczema

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Guideline CG57, Atopic eczema in children. Available at www.nice.org.uk.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Management of atopic eczema in primary care. Available from URL: http://www.sign.ac.uk.

3. Heartburn and indigestion

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Clinical Guideline CG17, Dyspepsia – management of dyspepsia in adults in primary care. Available at www.nice.org.uk.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Dyspepsia. Available at http://www.sign.ac.uk.

4. Fever in children (updated)

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Guideline CG47, Feverish illness in children: Assessment and initial management in children younger than 5 years . Available at www.nice.org.uk.

5. Constipation

American College of Gastroenterology Chronic Constipation Task Force. An evidence-based approach to the management of chronic constipation in North America. Am J Gastroenterol, 2005: 100(Suppl 1), S1-S4.

6. Headache and migraine

NICE. Diagnosis and management of headaches in young people and adults. September 2012. Clinical guideline 150. Methods, evidence and recommendations. Available from: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13901/60854/60854.pdf.

7. Coughs

Morice AH, McGarvey L, Pavord I, on behalf of the British Thoracic Society Cough Guideline Group. Recommendations for the management of cough in adults. Thorax 2006;61(Suppl I):i1–i24. doi: 10.1136/thx.2006.065144

Smith SM, Schroeder K, Fahey T. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001831. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001831.pub3.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Referral for suspected cancer — NICE guideline. CG27. London: NICE; 2005. Available at: www.nice.org.uk.

8. Acne

Purdy S, de Berker D. Clinical review: Acne. BMJ 2006; 333: 949–53.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Referral Advice: A guide to appropriate referral from general to specialist services.  Available at www.nice.org.uk.

9. Sprains and strains

NHS Evidence Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Sprains and Strains – Management. Available at: http://www.cks.nhs.uk/sprains_and_strains 

10. Sore throat

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Management of sore throat and indications for tonsillectomy – a national clinical guideline. Edinburgh: SIGN. Available from URL: http://www.sign.ac.uk

11. Otitis media

American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Management of Acute Otitis Media. Diagnosis and management of acute otitis media. Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):1451–65.

Otitis media – acute – NICE CKS [Internet]. Available from: http://cks.nice.org.uk/otitis-media-acute#!topicsummary

Otitis Media – NHS Website  Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/otitis-media/pages/introduction.aspx

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Guideline 66: Diagnosis and management of childhood otitis media in primary care [Internet].  Available from: http://www.sign.ac.uk/guidelines/fulltext/66/

Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE (UK). Respiratory Tract Infections – Antibiotic Prescribing: Prescribing of Antibiotics for Self-Limiting Respiratory Tract Infections in Adults and Children in Primary Care [Internet]. London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (UK). Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53632/

Venekamp RP, Sanders S, Glasziou PP, Del Mar CB, Rovers MM. Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children. In: The Cochrane Collaboration, Venekamp RP, editors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2013 [cited 2013 Oct 6]. Available from: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/14651858.CD000219.pub3

Kozyrskyj A, Klassen TP, Moffatt M, Harvey K. Short-course antibiotics for acute otitis media. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(9):CD001095.

Rothman R, Owens T, Simel DL. Does this child have acute otitis media? JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2003 Sep 24;290(12):1633–40.

Little P, Rumsby K, Kelly J, Watson L, Moore M, Warner G, et al. Information leaflet and antibiotic prescribing strategies for acute lower respiratory tract infection: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2005 Jun 22;293(24):3029–35.

CG160 Feverish illness in children: full guideline [Internet]. [cited 2013 Oct 20]. Available from: http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG160/Guidance/pdf/English

12. Common cold

Common cold – NICE CKS [Internet]. Available from: http://cks.nice.org.uk/common-cold#!topicsummary

Cold, Common – NHS Website Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cold-common/Pages/Introduction.aspx

13. Sinusitis

sinusitis – NHS Website. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sinusitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Sinusitis – NICE CKS [Internet]. Available from: http://cks.nice.org.uk/sinusitis#!topicsummary

Sinus Headache – NHS Websire. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sinus-headache/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Shaikh N, Wald ER, Pi M. Decongestants, antihistamines and nasal irrigation for acute sinusitis in children. In: The Cochrane Collaboration, Shaikh N, editors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev [Internet]. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2012 [cited 2013 Oct 20]. Available from: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/14651858.CD007909.pub3

14. Urine symptoms in men

NICE CG97: Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men – NICE

‘Clinical Review: Management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men’. Rees J, Bultitude M, Challacombe B. British Medical Journal 2014: 248: g3861

We have made every effort to ensure that the content of the Fact Sheets is correct at the time of publication, but remember that information and self care advice may change. The information provided is for general education only and does not list all the facts, management options and warning symptoms. The Fact Sheets should only be provided in the context of the GP consultation, where the GP will be able to draw attention to particularly relevant information.