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Common Illnesses

Self Treatment of Common Illnesses & Accidents

BACK PAIN - Most back pain is caused by poor posture over a long period of time, or by poor lifting techniques. The pain usually settles after two or three days of rest, lying flat, application of heat, with some pain killers, such as Paracetamol if necessary.

If there is no improvement after a few days or if there are any other symptoms present, you should see the Doctor.

COLDS AND STUFFY NOSES - These are usually caused by viruses for which,

 even these days, there is no cure.   Antibiotics do not help. The best advice is to rest at home, keep comfortable and take some Paracetamol to relieve the symptoms.

Steam inhalations are often helpful in relieving nasal congestion and may shorten the illness. Children under five years should be kept cool. Aspirin should not be given to children under twelve years.

Patients with a high fever and a painful throat or wheezing and productive cough should be brought to the Doctor.

FEVERISH ILLNESS - It is usual for a Fever to rise during the evening and fall at night. Fever should be treated using Paracetamol to lower the body's "thermostat', plenty of cold drinks, removing most clothes, if persistent, by sponging with tepid water and fanning.

BURNS AND SCALDS - Apply lots of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible. If the skin is unbroken but blistered apply a loose dressing. If the burn is larger than 1 Ocm or if the skin is broken, consult a Doctor or Nurse.

CHICKEN POX - The first signs of chicken pox are little red spots appearing on the body. After a day or two, blisters develop in the middle of the spots.

These blisters then burst and start to dry up. While this is going on other spots appear on other parts of the body. Thewhole process takes about one week

from start to finish. The most infectious time is before the rash appears until about five days afterwards. The itching can be relieved by Calamine lotion and cool baths. Children may return to school once all the spots have started to dry up and no new ones are appearing.


DIARRHOEA & VOMITING - The condition nearly always settles without any special treatment. All that is necessary is to avoid food and milk for 24 hours and to drink plenty of clear fluids (water, squash, lemonade etc.) Rehydration solutions are available from the chemist and are useful if the symptoms go on for more than 24 hours. Breast fed babies should continue to be breast fed, but may need more milk than usual.

NOSE BLEEDS - Sit upright with your head tilted forwards. Pinch your nose firmly, just above the nostrils for ten minutes continuously. If the bleeding continues, pinch for another ten minutes. A cold flannel across the bridge of the nose and frequent cold water mouth rinses may help.

SPRAINS - Raise the arm or leg and apply a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for ten to fifteen minutes to reduce the swelling. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel makes an ideal compress.

Then apply a firm crepe bandage and rest the arm or leg until the pain has eased. Gentle exercise over the next few days will speed up recovery.

INSECT BITES AND STINGS - Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist and will usually relieve the itching and swelling.

MINOR CUTS AND GRAZES - Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. To stop persistent bleeding press firmly on  the wound with a clean handkerchief or dressing for five to ten minutes. Cover the wound with a clean, dry dressing.

  HEADLICE / NITS - Leaflets on the subject are available from reception.


THREADWORMS - These cause an itchy bottom, especially at night, and can sometimes be seen in the motions. They can be easily treated with tablets or medicine from the chemist. All members of the household should be treated at the same time.


Many viral infections will cause a transient blotchy rash in young children. This is not usually itchy or painful and disappears in two to three days.

No treatment is necessary and the child does not have to be kept indoors or away from other children. Measles and German Measles (Rubella) cause this sort of rash, but are rarely seen these days because of the success of immunisation.


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