Old Mill Surgery

02476 382554

Self help

NHS Direct

This is a telephone service staffed by nurses, which gives confidential health care advice and information 24 hours a day. They will send you leaflets about specific conditions and illnesses. Telephone 0845 4647.

 

Coughs and Colds

These are usually caused by viruses and unfortunately there is no cure. Antibiotics are of no use. Treatment usually consists of taking recommended doses of paracetamol and drinking fluids. The illness will last less than one week. If the cough persists, you are coughing dirty sputum or become breathless you should see the doctor.

Influenza is much the same but the headaches, aches and pains, tiredness and lethargy are much worse. Take plenty of rest, fluids and paracetamol, those patients withc chest, heart, diabetes or kidney problems are particularly at risk and can have a flu vaccination annually by contacting the doctor.

 

Fever

A raised temperature is natural with most illnesses and simple measures will make you more comfortable. In small children it is important to stop the temperature rising too quickly by giving paracetamol syrup (check dosage). Also keep the room cool and dont’t wrap the patient up. Regular cool drinks and sponging down with a cool flannel is effective. If your child does not respond we will always give them an appointment. You will not make them worse by bringing them to surgery in the pram or car. Sometimes the fresh air makes feverish children feel better.

 

Warts and Verrucas

For pateints especially children, suffering with warts or verrucas, cryotherapy (freezing) is no longer available. Research has shown that topical treatments are more effective than freezing, as long as you persist for long enough. Usually warts or verrucas will go themselves after 2 years as the body develops immunity to the virus that causes them. Please ask for further advice or you can buy these topical treatments over the counter at a pharmacy.

 

Vomiting and Diarrhoea

In adults and older children, diarrhoea and vomiting will usually get better on its own within 36 hours. Treatment consists of replacing the fluid you have lost and resting the digestive system by having no solid food for 24 hours. Clear fluids should be taken as sips every few minutes. Sachets of powder such as Dioralyte are available from the chemist. If the diarrhoea contains blood or there is severe pain or high fever you should inform your doctor. Diarrhoea and vomiting in babies should be treated with caution and the doctor will be happy to advise you over the phone and arrange to see the child if necessary.

 

Back Pain

Usually caused by lifting and straining. Remember when lifting to bend your knees and deep you back straight. Most back pain gets better with rest and painkillers.

 

Childhood Rashes

If your child is basically well with a rash, but fails to settle within 48 hours, then seek medical advice. If your child is ill with a rash, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. If you warn the receptionist that your child has a rash and may be infectious, we can arrange for you to be shown through to another area to wait. Your child may need to be kept isolated from other children during the illness. The doctor will advise.

 

Stomach Ache

Most attacks are not serious and are caused by indigestion and wind. Usually a hot water bottle and antacid such as mild of magnesia will help. If the pain persists for more than 8 hourse or is getting worse you should consult your doctor.

 

Chicken Pox

The rash appears as small red pathces with itchy blisters. The rash will dry up and crust over in about 4 days. The child is infectious until the last crusts have dropped off. Calamine lotion and cool baths help the itch.

 

Sore Throat

These are caused mainly by viruses and do NOT require antibiotics. They often take a day or two to develop and are at their worst around the second and third day of the illness, after which they should begin to settle. If they are not showing signs of easing with five days then consult the doctor.

 

Earache

Earache is not always due to an infection in the ear and can occur as part of a sore throat or simple cold. Follow general advice and give the correct dose of paracetamol and ibuprofen regularly for pain. Do not put drops into the ears. If earache persists AND the patient is unwell (high temperature, crying etc) after a day or two employing these measures, then consult the doctor.

 

Insect Bites/Stings

If the sting remains (usually bee stings) scrape it away. Apply an ice pack immediately to ease the pain and swelling (a half-pound pack of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel makes a suitable ice pack). Some redness and swelling is inevitable even when treatment is applied promptly. Some people may prefer to use one of the creams/sprays available over the counter at the local pharmacy.

 

Head Lice

Head lice are very common and are not associated with dirty hair. They are usually picked up by children at school. If you think your child has head lice, a shampoo can be purchased at the chemist or come and talk to the Health visitor.

 

Scalds/Burns

Apply large quantities of running cold water to the affected area immediately, followed by an ice pack and continue until pain subsides. This may take as long as 15 minutes. Apply a paraffin gauze dressing (i.e. paratuelle) which is available at the chemist, cover with ling and hold with a crepe bandage. Change after three days. For large burns or where the skin is broken seek medical help.

 

Sunburn

Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove heat. Paracetamol or Nurofen may help to relieve the pain. Aplly an after-sun cream to soothe the area. Drink plenty of fluids.

 

Minor Cuts and Grazes

Wash the wound thoroughly with water/antiseptic. To stop bleeding, apply a clean handkerchief or dressing very firmly to the wound for a minimum of 10 minutes. Cover with a clean dry dressing. If you think the wound is large enough to require stitching or if heavy bleeding persists, go the local casualty department. If you have not had a tetanus booster in the last five-ten years consult the Nurse during normal surgery hours. Remember to renew your immunity to tetanus by attending surgery for booster injections every five to ten years, our Practice Nurse will advise and carry out this service.

 

Sprains

Apply an ice pack immediately and maintain treatment for 10-15 minutes and repeat every three to four hours will ease the pain and swelling. Apply a firm crepe bandage and rest as much as possible until all discomfort has subsided. Take paracetamol or nurofen for the pain.

 

Nosebleeds

These are common in children especially if they have a cold. If possible sit the patient in a chair leaning forward with the mouth open and squeeze the nostrils for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid picking or blowing the nose for the next 24 hours. If symptoms persist consult your doctor.

 

Antibiotics

Antibiotics only work on bacteria and have no effect on viruses. This means that the common infections such as cough, colds and flu will not respond to them at all. The correct treatments are the simple remedies outlined in this section. We only use antibiotics when they fail and we suspect there is a secondary baterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to their not working in the future and more complications such as thrush and rashes etc.

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