Many common aches and pains can be simply treated at home without the need to consult a doctor.
Firstly a note on these commonly prescribed and powerful medicines. They only work on bacteria and are without effect on viruses. Unfortunately, this means that the common infections like coughs, colds, flu etc will not be helped by them at all. The correct treatment to follow is the simple remedies shown here; we only use antibiotics when they fail and we suspect there is a secondary bacterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to their not working in the future and more complications like thrush, skin rashes etc.
Cold & Sinus Pain
Take plenty of fluids, Paracetamol or, if over 16 years old, Aspirin. Inhalations with steam and karvol/menthol crystals, Olbas oil etc can help clear passages. If they are very blocked you could use a decongestant such as sudafed or Vicks Sinex etc (both available at the chemist). You should be feeling better after seven to ten days, at most two weeks. We would want to see you if you are getting worse instead.
These can be soothed by drinks made from honey and lemon juice in hot water or by Lemsips (avaiable in chemists and supermarkets). Steam inhalations can also be helpful. There are also many cough medicines available to buy over the counter.
Drink plenty of water and take Paracetamol. There are many cough sweets/lozenges available in chemists and supermarkets. A sore throat should settle in three to five days with this treatment.
If you have a temperature and are aching a lot, Paracetamol or Aspirin (if over 16), fluids and rest will help.
As with sore throats, steam inhalations are beneficial. Rest your voice and avoid smoky environments.
Minor Cuts and Grazes
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap. To stop any bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing to the wound for about five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry dressing.
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. This may take quite some time. If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose, dry dressing. If the burn is larger than four or five inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Treat as for other burns to remove the heat. Calamine lotion will relieve any irritation and Paracetamol will also help. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure to the harmful effects of the sun.
Inset Bites and Stings
Antihistamine tablets can be otained from the chemist (and some supermarkets) without a prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms.
Bee stings should be scraped away rather than plucked in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.
Children often run temperatures with no other symptoms. They need to be cooled down and then will feel better. Remove their clothes down to vest and pants and keep the room temperature down. Calpol can will usually help and sponging them down with lukewarm (not cold) water will help. If there is no improvement after 48 hours we will need to see them.
Diarrhoea & Vomiting
This usually settles in one to three days and we recommend avoiding all food for 12-24 hours but giving plenty of fluids e.g. water, weak squash etc frequently and in small amounts. If the vomiting is very frequent, special fluids such as Dioralyte prevent dehydration and are available from the chemist. Do avoid milk, dairy produce and fatty/spicy foods when you start eating again. Instead try dry bread, toast, thin soups, potato etc. If the diarrhoea doesn’t settle, try natural yoghurt (you can flavour it if you would prefer).
Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine, being made up of 24 fragile bones and associated cartilage and tendons support the whole weight of the upper body and, therefore, it is understandable that it sometimes goes wrong. Because of the complex nature of the spine it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain persists for more than a few days.
If, as is usual, the pain has been caused by abuse i.e. lifting heavy weights etc. be sensible and take things easy. Take care sit as upright as possible with a support for the small of the back. Take Aspirin (if over 16) or Paracetamol which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve any inflammation. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, gentle exercise or some kind of supportive corset.
Bed sores are far easier to prevent than to cure. They are caused by prolonged pressure to certain parts of the body when lying in bed for long periods of time. They can be prevented by encouraging the patient to shift position as often as possible and taking care to smooth out creases in the bottom sheets which could lead to localised irritation. Keep your eye open for red marks appearing at the pressure points such as heels, elbows, buttocks and hips. If they begin to appear inform the doctor before they get worse.
Firstly apply a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce any swelling. Firmly apply 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.
Sit in a chair and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the blooding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.