Coughs, Colds, Sore Throats and Antibiotics
Viruses cause almost all coughs and colds, for which there is, no cure. Treatment is aimed at symptoms and taking regular paracetamol with warm fluids as well as resting will help you to improve. Some illnesses last only a few days (like swine flu), but it is not uncommon for symptoms to last up to two weeks. Antibiotics only act against bacteria and so will have no affect upon colds caused by viruses. They will however cause side effects, and so should be avoided.
Back pain is very common, and is often caused by sudden changes in posture or lifting heavy items. The good news is that 90% of back pains are self-limiting and improve with simple measures. Unfortunately this may take up to 6 weeks. Taking simple measures such as remaining active and taking regular painkillers is all that is required for most people, however if your pains are not improving make an appointment to see your doctor.
It is important to place a burn under cold running water as soon as possible, to divert the heat from the skin and causing more damage. If your burn is small, then you should cover it with a dry dressing, if however it is bigger than an inch you should book in to see the practice nurse.
Diarrhoea and Vomiting
Most diarrhoea and vomiting is caused by viruses and is usually self-limiting. Treatment is aimed at preventing dehydration, this can be achieved by taking small but regular amounts of fluid. Using anti-diarrhoeal tablets are discouraged as these often slow the clearance of the virus and prolong the illness. If your symptoms last more than a few days you should contact your doctor.
Treatment is similar to other types of burns, with the application of cold towels. Prevention is better than cure, and the use of regular sunscreen (UVA/UVB), a hat (or more clothing) and sunglasses is encouraged. Extra care should be taken with children who are more susceptible to the effects of the sun.
Minor Cuts and Grazes
These should be cleaned with warm running water, or if bleeding, pressure applied. A dry plaster should be applied, and the wound kept dry, you may need to see the practice nurse if your tetanus is not up to date.
Toothache is very common for which there are many causes. Simple measures such as painkillers should be taken, but your dentist should perform a full assessment. A doctor may be able to help with painkillers but will not be able to assess you properly, and this may delay treatment and potentially worsen your condition.
Is a blistering rash that appears over several days (with new lesions appearing as old ones crust over). The rash is very itchy and is reduced by applying calamine lotion to the skin and taking piriton syrup. It is important not to scratch the rash as this may scar. The child is infectious from several days before the rash starts, until all the lesions have crusted over - (may take up to 10 days). Pregnant women should be avoided during this period as if the woman has not had chickenpox she may not have immunity to the virus, which may affect her foetus.
Fevers are common and are part of your immune system defences for tackling virus and bacteria which cannot survive the higher temperatures. Taking regular paracetamol and ibuprofen will help with the symptoms of a fever - headache, muscle aches and lethargy. It is important to know what is causing the fever, and if a fever persists for more than 2 days with no obvious cause you should contact your doctor. Young children and babies with a fever over 38 degrees should be seen by a doctor.
Ankle Sprains and other Strains
Applying ice after the initial insult will help reduce inflammation and swelling. This can be helped further by compression (with crepe bandage) and elevating the affected limb. Injuries of the muscles and joints often take several weeks to improve so it is important to take painkillers.
Common in children, and often a reflection of clean hair - the lice do not like dirty hair. You should visit your local chemist who will provide treatments.
These are small round lesions found on the sole of the foot, often white with a visible root. They are self-limiting, but may take several years to go. There are a number of preparations available from your chemist, which should be tried.
Home Medicine Kit
Thermometer, aspirin, paracetamol, calpol, crepe bandage, plasters, antihistamines, ibuprofen and antacids,