Self Treatment Of Common Illnesses And Accidents
Many problems can be treated at home without the need to consult a
Most back pain is caused by mechanical injury. Self treatment with
ibuprofen and paracetamol (both available from your local chemists)
should help with the condition. Gentle exercise is recommended when
the pain has eased. If there is no improvement after two days, or if
bladder, bowel or limb movement is affected, please see your doctor
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area. If the
skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose dry dressing. If the
burn is larger than 10cm across, or if the skin is broken, consult a
doctor or nurse.
On the first day a rash appears as small red patches 3-4mm across
and within a short time 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 drop off.
Calamine lotion may be applied to soothe the itching. Cool baths may
also help. The most infectious period is from two or three days
before the rash appears, to five days after this date. Children may
return to school as soon as the last crusts have disappeared.
Colds, Coughs And Stuffy Noses
Colds are caused by viruses. Even today there is still no cure for
the common cold. Paracetamol will help to relieve the headache, sore
throat and aching as well as bring down a fever. Rest at home and
take plenty of liquids.
This is a very common problem which can be generally avoided by
ensuring plenty of fibre e.g. cereals, fruit and vegetables in the
daily diet combined with plenty to drink. If necessary, laxatives
are available from the chemist or most supermarkets.
This is common for women and it causes a burning sensation during
frequent passing of urine. Drink plenty of fluids. If you have a
fever or if your symptoms last more than 48 hours, consult a doctor.
Diarrhoea And Vomiting
For both adults and children it is best to avoid all solids for 12
to 24 hours; drink plenty of fluids in frequent amounts (avoiding
milk). Babies and young children may require Dioralyte if the
diarrhoea is severe. If babies and toddlers show no sign of
improvement in 48 hours, they should be seen by the doctor.
Looking After Your Child With A High Temperature
A child usually develops a fever in response to an infection.
Usually the child will get over the infection without antibiotics. A
few children, usually under three years old, may have a convulsion
with a high temperature. It is therefore important to bring the
If your child has a temperature or feels hot:
Give paracetamol (Calpol) at the recommended dose. (Do not give
aspirin to under 16s.)
Give plenty of cool drinks as fluid is lost with a fever. Sponging
with a cool flannel will make them feel better and reduce the
If your child does not improve, ask your doctor for advice. You will
not make matters worse if you bring your child out to see the
If there is no improvement within 48 hours or the raised temperature
is associated with other symptoms, then consult your doctor.
Here is a list of useful medicines and dressings with a description
of their uses. All are quite cheap and worth stocking at home in
readiness for minor illnesses.
Keep them in a box or cupboard with a lock - or store them well out
of the reach of children.
Soluble Aspirin Tablets
For adults and older children. Good for headaches, colds, sore
throats and painful bruises.
For relief of pain or fever in young children.
Sedative Cough Linctus
For dry or painful coughs - but not coughs caused by common colds.
Add to hot water to make steam inhalations for treating catarrh and
dry or painful coughs.
Again, for steam inhalations. Also useful for children with stuffy
noses or dry coughs. Rub on the chest and nose.
Ephedrine Nose Drops
For runny noses in children over one year old. Use before meals and
at night but not for more than four days.
One teaspoon diluted in warm water for cleaning cuts and grazes.
For treating septic spots, sores in the nose and grazes.
For dabbing (not rubbing) on insect bites, stings and sunburn.
For minor cuts.
3” Wide Crepe Bandage
To keep dressings in place. To support sprained or bruised joints.
For cleaning cuts and grazes.
For removing splinters.
- Keep the medicine chest in a secure, locked place out of
reach of small children.
- Always read the instructions and use the suggested dose
- Watch expiry dates – don’t keep or use medicines past their
- Take all unwanted and out-of-date medicines back to the
Remember that your local chemist can give you advice about
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