Self Treatment of Common Illnesses & Accidents
Many common aches and pains can be simply treated at home without the need to consult a doctor.
Bed sores are far easier to prevent than cure. They are caused by prolonged pressure to certain parts of the body when lying in bed for long periods. 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 sheet which could lead to localized irritation. Keep your eye open for red marks appearing at the pressure points such as heels, elbows, buttocks and hips and if they begin to appear, inform the doctor before they get worse.
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. They may take as long at 15 minutes! If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose, dry dressing.
If the burn is larger than 4 or 5 inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Even in this day and age there is still no magic cure for the common cold. Go to bed, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish, take Aspirin or Paracetamol. Do not bother to take any antibiotics you may have in the house – these will have no effect.
Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomach ache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed, medicines are often immediately vomited. Large quantities of water, orange juice, or thin soup should be taken to counter the effects of dehydration. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a day or, in the case of babies or young children, 6 hours.
Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion or wind. A hot water bottle will often relieve the symptoms and, in the case of indigestion, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of water will help.
If the pain lasts for longer than 8 hours or increases in intensity you should consult your doctor.
Firstly apply a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce the swelling. Apply firmly, 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 (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or food for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
MINOR CUTS & GRAZES
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap. To stop bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about 5 minutes. Cover with a clean dressing.
Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine Lotion will relieve the irritation whilst 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.
INSECT BITES AND STINGS
Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms.
Note: Bee stings should be scraped away rather than ‘plucked’ in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.
These creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from the chemist without prescription.
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 3 or 4 days further patches will appear and the earlier ones will turn ‘crusty’ and fall off.
Oily Calamine Lotion may be applied to soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from 2 or 3 days before the rash appears and up to 5 days after this date. Children may return to school as soon as the last ‘crusts’ have dropped off.
GERMAN MEASLES (RUBELLA)
The rash appears during the first day and usually covers the body, arms and legs in small pink patches about 2-4mm and doesn’t itch. No other symptoms are usually present apart from occasional aching joints.
It is infectious from 2 days before the rash appears, until the rash disappears in about 4 or 5 days from that date.
The only danger is to unborn babies and, therefore, it is important that all contacts are informed in order that anyone who may be pregnant can contact their doctor.
The rash is blotchy and red and appears on the face and body around the fourth day of illness. It is at its most infectious from 2 or 3 days before the rash appears until 8 or 10 days after that date.
Immunisation can prevent this disease.
Common symptoms are swelling of the glands in front of one of the ears, often followed, after a couple of days, by swelling in the front of the other ear. It is infectious from 2 or 3 days before the swelling appears until 8 or 10 days after that date.
For further information please speak to a member of staff.