Many common aches and pains can be simply treated by you at home.
Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine supports the whole weight of the upper body so it is understandable that is sometimes goes wrong. Because of the complex nature of the spine it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain persists for more that a few days or if you get shooting pains down the leg. If, as is usual, the pain has been caused by abuse ie lifting to 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, Neurofen or Paracetamol which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve inflammation. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, heat treatment or gentle exercise.
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! Repeat every two hours. If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose dry dressing. If the burn is larger that four or five inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor or practice nurse as soon as possible.
On the first day a rash appears as small red patches about 3-4mm across. Within a few hours of these developing, small blisters appear in the centre of these patches. During the next three or four days further patches will appear in crops and the earlier ones will turn 'crusty' and fall off. Antihistamines may soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from two to three days before the rash appears and up to five days after this date. Children may return to school as soon as the last 'crusts' have dropped off.
Even in this day and age there is still no cure for the common cold. Rest, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish, take Aspirin or Paracetamol. Do not take antibiotics as these will have no effect! If after 4 days you are getting worse then call the surgery.
In ADULTS, diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus infection and therefore cannot be treated directly. The symptoms can usually be eased by fluids only and occasionally anti diarrhoeal medication. Holiday diarrhoea may be due to a bacteria. Consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.
Diarrhoea in VERY YOUNG CHILDREN AND BABIES needs careful attention. Most babies have loose bowel action during their first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding a cooled solution of boiled water (with a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoone of salt to the pint). If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult your doctor.
An influenza vaccination is particularly recommended for patients with heart, lung and kidney disease, diabetes and residents of nursing and rest homes and patients over 65 years of age. Please contact the reception staff in September for details of the vaccination dates and to make an appointment. If you are unable to attend the surgery, a home visit will be arranged to undertake this facility.
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, orange juice or thin soup 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.
These creatures, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Wash the hair with conditioner and use a nit comb every three days for 2 weeks. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from the chemist without prescription.
Insect Bites and Stings
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 aviod squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.
Minor Cuts and Grazes
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap to remove grit and clean wound. To stop bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about five minutes. Cover with a clean dry dressing. Change daily. Expose to air until dry.
Sit in a chair, lean forward with your mouth open over a bowl, and pinch the soft part of your nose just below the bone for at least ten minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot foods for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Treat with a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 minutes to reduce the swelling 4 times a day for 24 hours. Then apply, firmly, a 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. Keep joint elevated when possible.
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.
Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Antihistamine tablets from the chemist will relieve the irritation whilst Paracetamol will also help the pain. Drink plenty of fluids. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure to the harmful effects of the sun.