Management of Common Illnesses

Management of Common Illnesses

Many conditions get better on their own and can be treated successfully at home.

The Pharmacist may be able to help you with these and advise about medicines you can buy over the counter.

Backache, Strains and Sprains

Many acute strains, sprains and backaches will respond to a few days’ rest with paracetamol taken for the pain.

Application of an ice-pack (eg a bag of frozen peas), support with a firm but not tight bandage, and keeping the limb elevated where possible, should all prove helpful. 

If symptoms persist, contact the doctor.

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Burns and Scalds

Take the heat away from the skin as soon as possible.  Apply large quantities of cold water immediately for up to 10 minutes if necessary. 

If the skin is unbroken but blistered apply a loose dressing after cooling.

If the skin is broken or the area is larger than four to five centimetres across, further advice should be sought.

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This is one of the only remaining childhood illnesses.  The rash is infectious and can be very itchy.

Bathing in bicarbonate of soda can help cool the skin and reduce infection.  Antihistamines may help. 

It is not normally necessary to attend surgery.  Chickenpox is highly contagious and can cause miscarriage in pregnant women and shingles in the elderly. 

Please ring for advice if you think it is necessary.

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Colds and Flu

These usually start with a runny nose, cough, temperature and aches. They are caused by viruses and antibiotics have no use in treating them.

Treatment consists of taking recommended doses of paracetamol for the temperature and aches and drinking plenty of fluids.

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Diarrhoea and Vomiting

In adults and older children, diarrhoea and vomiting will usually get better on its own.

Treatment consists of replacing the fluids you have lost and resting the digestive system by having nothing solid to eat for 24 hours.

Sachets of powder such as Dioralyte and Rehidrat that can be made into a drink are available from the chemist.

If the diarrhoea contains blood or there is severe pain or high fever, you should discuss it with your doctor.

Diarrhoea and vomiting in small babies and young children should be treated with caution and the doctor will be happy to advise you about this over the telephone and arrange to see you if necessary.

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Head Lice

This is a very common condition and you can obtain treatment from your Pharmacist.

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Insect Bites and Stings

It is normal for insect bites to become red and swollen.  Most of these need no treatment. 

Antihistamine tablets and cream can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will relieve most symptoms. 

Further treatment should only be necessary if there is severe swelling and discharge.   

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Small frequent nosebleeds can be common in small children and the following first aid measures can help.

Sit in a chair leaning forward with your mouth open and pinch your nose just below the bone for about 10 minutes by which time the bleeding will usually have stopped.

If the bleeding continues, consult your Doctor.

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Remember prevention is better than cure; use high factor sun creams before exposure, especially on children.

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A temperature occurs commonly, even with mild infections.  In small children it is important to stop the temperature rising too quickly and children should be given paracetamol syrup. 

If they still appear hot, they should be gently sponged with tepid water to cool them. 

If a temperature is very high and does not come down with the above treatment, or the child appears very unwell with a temperature, you should consult your Doctor.

A child or an adult with a temperature will not come to any harm being wrapped up and brought by car or pram to the surgery.

Get advice for chickenpox.

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