Many simple conditions are easily treated at home without the need to consult or see your GP. Many are self-limiting, meaning that they get better on their own without requiring any particular treatment. Copies of a very useful guidebook, 'The NHS Home Healthcare Guide', are available from the surgery, and the NHS Direct site has a useful guide on its site.
Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year.
The spine supports the whole weight of the upper body and therefore it is understandable that it sometimes goes wrong. Because of the complex nature of the spine it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain persists for more than a few days.
If, as is usual, the pain has been caused by abuse i.e. lifting too heavy weights etc, be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit as upright as possible with a support for the small of the back. Take aspirin or paracetamol, which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve the inflammation.
A feverish illness with cough, coloured phlegm and often soreness in the chest. It normally resolves in 1 – 2 weeks although the cough may take a further 2 weeks to settle. Antibiotics are not routinely used but recommended to those with chronic lung and heart disease.
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides.
This may take as long as 15 minutes!
If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose, dry dressing. If the burn is larger than 4 or 5 inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, seek medical advice.
These symptoms include a runny nose, cough, temperature, headache, muscle aches and pains.
Symptoms can be eased by using paracetamol or aspirin (aged over 16 yrs).
Rest and drink lots of fluids.
You are unlikely to want to eat much for a few days.
May be left to get better on its own using paracetamol to relieve symptoms. You may consult the doctor if there is discharge from the ear or if deafness is present for more than a few weeks.
Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine.
Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomachache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed, medicines are often immediately vomited up.
Large quantities of water should be taken to counter the effects of dehydration.
Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a day or, in the case of babies or young children, six hours.
Also known as Rubella. This is a minor illness and all children should be vaccinated.
It is infectious from two days before the rash appears, until the rash disappears in about four or five days from that date.
The only danger is to unborn babies and therefore it is important that all contacts are informed in order that anyone who may be pregnant can contact their doctor. Immunisation can prevent this disease.
These creatures, contrary to belief, prefer clean hair and are therefore not a sign of poor personal hygiene.
Wash regularly, apply conditioner and comb through with a fine toothcomb every 2-3 days for 2-3 weeks.
Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms.
Note: bee stings should be scraped away rather than ‘plucked’ in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.
All children should be vaccinated against this. It is increasingly rare these days.
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap.
To stop the bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about five minutes.
Cover with a clean dry dressing.
All children should be vaccinated against this.
Sit down and lean forward then pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 20 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped.
If bleeding continues beyond this you need to attend the Accident and Emergency Department at Torbay Hospital.
Avoid hot drinks or hot foods for 24 hours. Do not blow the nose for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, seek medical advice. An ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas / flannel after being placed in cold water) on the bridge of the nose and back of the neck helps.
Characterised by yellow or green nasal catarrh and facial pain. This illness resolves spontaneously but can last 3 to 4 weeks. Intially treatment with paracetamol and steam inhalations can help with symptoms, but if the symptoms persist for a week or more, antibiotics may shorten the length of the disease.
Most sore throats are caused by viruses and antibiotics have no effect.
Aspirin (aged over 16 yrs) or paracetamol may help with the pain while it runs its course of 5-7 days.
If you are unable to swallow you may have quinsy and you should consult the doctor.
Also, patients who have had a spleen removed need to seek medical advice.
Firstly apply a cold compress (i.e. a bag of frozen peas) for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce the swelling.
Apply a firm crepe bandage and give the sprain plenty of rest until all discomfort has subsided.
Further strain will inevitably lead to further swelling and a longer recovery period. Drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen available from the pharmacy may well help.
Before you get pregnant, make sure you are immune to German Measles by having a blood test.
Take Folic Acid supplements; These are available at pharmacists and reduce the risk of a spina bifida baby.
Cut alcohol consumption to less than 14 units a week and stop smoking if you do so.
It’s important to avoid Chickenpox when pregnant.
Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion or wind.
A hot-water bottle will often relieve the symptoms and in the case of indigestion, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of water will help.
If the pain lasts for longer than eight hours or increases in intensity you should consult your doctor.
Sunburn will occur after prolonged exposure to the sun.
Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine lotion will relieve irritation whilst paracetamol will also help. 1% hydrocortisone can now be purchased over the counter from a registered pharmacist and this will soothe the irritation considerably.
Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid overexposure to the harmful effects of the sun.
To prevent sunburn use a Factor 25, or greater, sun cream; wear light cotton clothing, a hat and keep in the shade.
Vomiting usually settles within 24 hrs.
When vomiting, take only sips of water.
Diarrhoea may persist for 2-7 days.
It is important to drink a lot of fluids with diarrhoea.
Infants up to 12 months old are recommended to use a sugar and electrolyte drink (e.g. Dioralyte or Rehidrat). Only bottle fed babies need to avoid food with diarrhoea. If you are concerned about your child’s bowel actions please ensure they are taking plenty of water/fluids. For further advice contact the health visitor.