Self Treatment

Many common aches and pains can be simply treated at home without the need to consult a doctor. Our nurses are available to advise you. All homes should carry a stock of over the counter medicines and dressings and these will not normally be prescribed by your doctor.

  • 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.

    backpain

  • 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.

    blister after burn

  • Even in this day and age there is no magic cure for the common cold.

    Take plenty of drinks.

    If you have a headache or are feverish, take aspirin or paracetamol.

    Do not bother to take any antibiotics you may have in the house - these will have no effect!

    woman about to sneeze

  • Ideally let the illness take its course.

    In adults diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral infection and is therefore unable to be treated directly. Holiday diarrhoea is often due to bacteria.

    In both the above cases, consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.

    Diarrhoea in very young children needs careful attention.

    Most babies have loose bowel action during their first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. 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.

    sittingon toilet

  • 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.

    drinkingwater

  • 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.

    stomachachewoman

  • 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.

    sprain with icepack

  • 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.

    nosebleed

  • 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.

    cleaning-graze

  • 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.

    sunburnpeeling

  • 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.

    beehand

     

  • 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.

    headlice

  • 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.

    rubella

  • All children should be vaccinated against this. It is increasingly rare these days.

    measles

  • All children should be vaccinated against this.

    mumps

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