Ash Surgery

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Self Treatment of Common problems

Care at the chemist is a scheme that allows you to obtain medicines to treat certain illnesses from your local pharmacy without having to go to your doctors first.
If you do not pay for your prescriptions you will not have to first aid.jpg - 4.56 Kbpay for any medicines supplied through the scheme. A list of conditions treated through this scheme can be obtained at the surgery or at your pharmacy.
Many common problems can be treated at home without the need to consult a doctor.

COLD AND COUGHS - There is still no effective treatment for the common cold. The usual symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, headache, aches and pains, sore throat and dry tickly cough. It is caused by a virus and antibiotics are useless. Drink plenty and ask your pharmacist for advice about the best medicines. Paracetamol and Aspirin (Aspirin is not safe under 16 years old) will help with the fever, a decongestant may ease the blocked nose. Coughs may be eased by a linctus and a steam / menthol inhalation may also help. If you are coughing up any blood, thick green phlegm or are feeling breathless you should consult your G.P.

BACK PAIN - The majority of back pain will settle after a week or so. Rest as needed and take a suitable pain killer. After this, it is important to get moving again with gentle stretching and walking. If the pain is getting worse, or is spreading down the legs, or there is tingling or numbness in the legs, consult your doctor. To help prevent further attacks keep fit, try to keep your weight down and always lift properly, bend your knees and keep your back straight.

SORE THROATS - The vast majority of sore throats are viral and are not helped by antibiotics. Aspirin gargles (not under 16 years) and Paracetamol can ease the pain. Throat lozenges are also effective. If the symptoms go on for more than five days or are particularly severe then contact your G.P.

DIARRHOEA AND SICKNESS - Most episodes are self limiting and can be looked after at home.     

  • Drink plenty of fluids e.g. water and avoid fizzy drinks and fruit juices
  • If you feel like eating, try small amounts of plain food e.g. soup, pasta, rice, bread. 
  • Stay off work/school/nursery until at least 48 hours after symptoms passed. 
  • For more information see the NHS Choices website.

FEVERISH CHILDREN - Children may have up to ten simple viral infections each year, with perhaps a sore throat or snuffly nose. Always keep paracetamol mixture (e.g. Calpol) in the house. Use to reduce a fever in a child (check the dose).In addition, give cool drinks, remove excess clothing, keep bedclothes light and the room cool. If your child is very hot try tepid sponging or a cool bath (not so cold so as to cause shivering). If the child seems particularly ill or doesn't settle after two days then contact the surgery. It is perfectly safe to take a feverish child outdoors and
therefore a child with a high temperature can be brought to the surgery. Bupa - more about childhood fevers NHS Choices - what temperature is a fever?

NOSE BLEEDS - Sit forward and firmly squeeze the soft part of the nose for 10 minutes. If it starts again repeat this. If bleeding continues go to Casualty. Avoid hot drinks for 12 hours and try not to blow your nose for a few hours. St Johns Ambulance NHS Choices

HEAD INJURIES - Children often bang their heads. If they have been seen to fall, have not been knocked out and seem lively straight after, they just need to be kept an eye on. The worrying signs are sleepiness, repeat vomiting or continued crying with headache. If you are worried take them to Casualty. It is safe to give Paracetamol.

RASHES IN CHILDREN - Red patches on the skin or small red pimples that do not itch are extremely common, especially in children with colds. A virus usually causes these and no treatment is necessary. Rashes that look like bleeding or bruising in the skin and that do not blanch when a glass is rolled over them, should be checked by a doctor straight away.
The spots of chickenpox start on the trunk, form clear blisters then crust over and become itchy. You do not need to see a doctor unless the child is very unwell. Treatment consists of Paracetamol for fever and Calamine Lotion for the itching. They are infectious from about two days before the rash appears until the spots have crusted over. Keep your child away from pregnant women and other adults who have not had the illness. There is no reason why a child with a rash should not be brought to the surgery, as if necessary, they can wait in a separate area.

There is a good guide on the NHS website which describes various conditions affecting children. There is advice on how to diagnose them, how to treat them and if further advice should be consulted. NHS childhood illness slideshow

BURNS AND SCALDS - Treat by quickly cooling the area under a cold running tap for ten minutes. Cover with a loose dry dressing. Do not burst any blisters. If the area is large or a small child is affected take them to Casualty.

HEAD LICE - These are not caused by bad hygiene. Contact your pharmacist or health visitor for advice about treatment. Head Lice Factsheet

INSECT BITES / STINGS - Put ice on the area to keep the swelling down. Antihistamine tablets and hydrocortisone cream may heal with the itching. These can be bought from the chemist without prescription.

SUNBURN - Prevention is best! Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine and Paracetamol will help. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure. It is a good idea to use a water resistant HIGH factor sunscreen. Remember that long term repeated sun exposure significantly increases the risk of certain skin cancers.

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