Below is some information on common illnesses. Immediately below is a link to a trusted website that will give patient information to a range of diseases and healthcare issues and preventative advice.
Looking After A Child With A Temperature
Children can get a high temperature very quickly. This is in response to an infection. Most childhood infections are caused by viruses and these do not respond to antibiotics. In order to make your child feel more comfortable by bringing its temperature down, we recommend the following:
1. Keeping your child cool by a) taking
off most of their clothes b) not wrapping
2. Giving your child paracetamol elixir ie Calpol, Disprol, at the recommended dose.
3. Sponging your child down from head to toe with lukewarm water.
4. Giving your child frequent small amounts of cool drinks.
If, in spite of these measures, after 48 hours your child appears generally unwell and is under two years of age or you are concerned, then you should seek medical help.
Coughs and colds are extremely common, especially in the winter and can last a few weeks. They are caused by viruses and there are no magic cures. The best treatment is simply home remedies such as paracetamol for aches and pains, and reducing temperatures, lots of fluids and steam inhalations for adults. Antibiotics do not usually work. If the symptoms do not seem to improve with home treatments or if you feel worse instead of better after a week, then consult your doctor.
Diarrhoea And Vomiting
Adult diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus. Avoid food and dairy products for up to 24 hours as this will aggravate the diarrhoea; drink clear fluids and take paracetamol for pain or temperature. Over-the-counter remedies such as Imodium or kaolin and morphine may be taken to slow the diarrhoea but these are not generally recommended unless it is necessary for you to travel. You should re-start eating, gradually, a light bland diet. Most babies have loose bowel actions during the first six months of life due to their liquid diet. However, sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding with cooled boiled water or a sugar and salt solution available from the chemist. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, or are accompanied by vomiting and the child appears unwell, then you should consult your doctor.
Most sore throats are caused by viruses and are therefore not helped at all by antibiotics. Home remedies include paracetamol, gargling with soluble aspirin (but not in children under the age of 16), soothing drinks and throat lozenges. If symptoms do not settle within four or five days, or are associated with other symptoms, then see your doctor.
This is a very common problem and will usually resolve with sensible early treatment by the patient themselves. The most important measures are:
1. Rest for a few days only. If the pain is very severe or lasts for more
2. Take analgesia such as paracetamol,
aspirin or stronger over-the-counter painkiller, if
3. Prevent back pain by sitting upright
and adopting correct posture when walking
Head lice are not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Many have become resistant to insecticides, and current recommendation is 'wet combing'. If preferred, medicated head lice lotion can be obtained from the chemist without a prescription but do not exceed the recommended number of washes.
Sit in a chair, leaning slightly forward with your mouth open, and pinch your nose on the soft part, just below the bone of the bridge of the nose. If the bleeding has not stopped within 20 minutes then you should consult your doctor, who may advise you to attend Casualty. Once bleeding has ceased, refrain from blowing or picking your nose.
Apply large quantities of cold water, preferably under a running tap, to the affected area as soon as possible, and continue with this until the pain subsides. This may take 20 minutes or more. If the skin is unbroken, apply a clean, loose dry dressing. If the burn is blistered and is larger than the palm of the hand, or the skin is broken it would be sensible to see your practice nurse. This would also be an opportunity to check that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
This is usually caused by an infection in the inner part of the ear and is most common following colds in children. Sometimes the symptoms can be quite distressing, especially when they are associated with a high temperature. The initial treatment is for pain relief and temperature control - using paracetamol mixture in dosages as recommended on the manufacturer's label.
Often this treatment is all that is required as the child may well improve within a few hours. Most infections are caused by viruses and, as such, current advice is that antibiotics do not help reduce pain or complications and antibiotics should not be given for at least three days..
If the patient was not knocked out and can remember the accident, it is unlikely that serious injury has resulted, but if the patient was knocked unconscious and cannot remember what happened, they should be taken to the hospital accident and emergency department without delay. If any patient becomes drowsy or vomits more than once after a head injury, contact the doctor.
Insect Bites And Stings
These are uncomfortable, but not serious. Ice helps reduce pain and swelling. Children may need a painkiller (paracetamol). Antihistamine tablets or cream can be obtained from the chemist. Severe allergies to bee stings involving severe difficulties in breathing, and/or collapse, should be seen to immediately by emergency medical care.
Apply a cold compress (with ice) for 15 - 20 minutes to reduce the swelling. Apply a crepe bandage, elevate the limb and rest the injured part until all discomfort has subsided.
If your child is basically well but develops a rash this is commonly due to a virus and will settle without treatment in a couple of days. If the child is ill with the rash they should be seen.
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 and the earlier ones will turn 'crusty' and fall off. Calamine lotion may be applied to soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from two or 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.