Minor Illness Telephone Consultations are offered by the nursing team, alternatively you can speak to your local Pharmacist who is able to advise and treat a number of minor illnesses.
SELF TREATMENT OF COMMON
ILLNESSES AND ACCIDENTS
Many ailments can be treated simply at home without the need to consult a doctor.
FEVER (RAISED TEMPERATURE)
This is a common symptom and is usually due to a simple virus infection like the cold or flu. Simple measures
to help the symptoms of a raised temperature are usually effective in both adults and children
Adults and children over 15 years of age can be given either aspirin or paracetamol to symptoms associated with high temperature. Children under the age of 16 can be given paracetamol either in tablet or liquid form (eg Calpol). The maximum recommended dose should be repeated every 6 hours until symptoms improve.
On no account should aspirin ever be given to children under the age of 16 years. Advice should be sought if the fever lasts for more than 48 hours, if the patient is particularly unwell or if there is accompanying headache, vomiting, rash or neck stiffness.
COLD—The cold is caused by a virus infection and usually clears up spontaneously in 3 or 4 days. Sufferers should rest as much as possible and take plenty of fluids. Runny noses can be treated with proprietary decongestants obtainable from the chemist. Headache is best treated with paracetamol. Antibiotics will not shorten the course of the common cold as they are ineffective against viruses.
SORE THROAT—Most sore throats are caused by virus infections, which antibiotics cannot cure, but with simple remedies the patient normally gets better in 4-5 days. Sometimes a sore throat may occur with the common cold.
Treatment for adults: Drink plenty of cold fluids. Use soluble aspirin or paracetamol for pain relief.
Treatment for children: Young children should be given paracetamol in the correct dose for their age. Medical advice should be sought if a sore throat is getting worse after 2-3 days, if the patient is particularly unwell, or if there is a persistent fever.
COUGH– Coughing is the natural defence mechanism present to protect the air passages from damage. It often occurs during a virus infection and is present to prevent mucus from entering the lower air passages and causing deeper infection. Most coughs can be helped by sipping warm drinks regularly..
Medical advice should be sought
-if coughing produces a yellow or green spit for more than 2-3 days
-if coughing produces blood
-If coughing continues for more than 10 days after a common cold
-if coughing is accompanied by shortness of breath
DIARRHOEA—In adults diarrhoea is often caused by a virus infection and usually clears up spontaneously in 24-48 hours. The symptoms can be eased by sticking to an increased fluid/food-free diet for 24 hours and using treatment recommended by the pharmacist. If symptoms persist for more than 2 days, or are accompanied by persistent abdominal pain, medical advice should be sought.
Diarrhoea in very young children and babies needs careful attention to avoid dehydration. The patient should be encouraged to drink as much fluid as possible and to avoid food for 24 hours. Advice should be sought if the symptoms are accompanied by fever/vomiting or weakness or lasts for more than 24 hours.
BACK PAIN—Acute back pain should be treated as follows:
Keep as active as possible without causing too much pain. When sitting, be as upright as possible with a support for the small of your back. If pain has been caused by over-use ie lifting too heavy a weight, be sensible and avoid sudden jerky movements. Take paracetamol regularly which should ease the pain. If back pain is very severe or persists for more than 5 days, it is advisable to seek medical advice.
BURNS—Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. If the skin is intact, apply a loose dry dressing and seek medical advice. If the burned area is larger than the size of your hand, medical advice should be sought.
CUTS AND GRAZES—To stop the bleeding, the area should be covered with a clean, dry cloth and direct pressure maintained for 10 minutes. After this, the area should be cleaned thoroughly with hot, soapy water. If the wound is large or will not stop bleeding, medical advice should be sought. It is important to maintain your protection against tetanus infection and you should check if you require booster vaccination.
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