Health problems are part of life. The fact is that everyone gets ill sometimes– though hopefully not too often – and when you develop a medical symptom you need to decide what to do about it. For example, you may choose to see your pharmacist, consult your doctor, go to the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) department – or, in the worst case, phone for an ambulance. You may even choose to do nothing at all.
So that you stay healthy and get the best available health advice and treatment when you fall ill, you need to be able to make sensible decisions about your health. Doing so can be tricky and occasionally a bit scary. Not surprisingly, you can feel out of your depth all too easily. Most people successfully make decisions about their healthcare just by using common sense, but instances do occur when you’re not quite sure what to do or your health problems develop gradually and you start to think about getting medical help.
These situations are where medical book and pamphlets can help. In the same way that you don’t have to be a professional mechanic or engineer to identify and deal with simple problems relating to your car or dishwasher, you don’t have to be a doctor to be able to recognize common or potentially serious health problems or to have the confidence to decide what to do about them. You do have to be a health professional, though, to deal with and treat a great many conditions, and so knowing when you can treat an illness yourself and when to seek medical advice is an essential skill.