Self-Treatment of Common Illnesses and Accidents
Many minor ailments can be simply and safely treated at home without the need to consult the Doctor.
Coughs and Colds:-
We all suffer coughs and colds from time to time. These are usually caused by viruses which cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics. Colds usually last between 5 and 7 days. Rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol or aspirin will help to relieve symptoms.
Diarrhoea and Vomiting:-
Diarrhoea and vomiting will usually get better on its own. It is important that a high fluid intake is maintained to avoid dehydration, water, dilute squash or dehydration fluids are ideal. Fluids should be given in small quantities often since large volumes are more likely to be vomited. In babies and small children and assess the child if necessary.
A raised fever is common in any infectious illness, the following steps should be taken to control it. This is particularly important with young children. Undress the patient and turn the heating down. Give paracetamol, regularly. (Never give aspirin to children under 12 years). Sponge the patient down with tepid water.
Insect Bites and Stings:-
Antihistamines can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms. Anyone who has had a previous severe reaction should contact the doctor.
Skin should be protected from the harmful rays of the sun at all times by keeping the skin covered, avoiding long exposure to the sun and by the regular use of high protection factor sun cream. Moisturisers and paracetamol are useful to relieve the pain of sunburn.
A common infection in young children. After a few days of being unwell the child develops small red spots which blister, become very itchy and last three to four days before drying up and forming crusts. The itching can be relieved by keeping the skin cool. The child may return to school as soon as the spots have dried and the crusts have dropped off.
Burns and Scalds:-
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this for several minutes. Do not attempt to remove clothing first. If the burn is large, or the skin is broken, consult the doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
Sit in a chair, leaning forward with your mouth open, and pinch the nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Minor cuts and grazes:-
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap. To stop the bleeding apply a clean dressing firmly to the wound for five minutes, then cover with a non-adherent dressing.