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Health Information and Advice
Treatment advice - Children and Babies
COUGH – Simple linctus or a cough medicine recommended for children. See a doctor if there is breathlessness or chest pain or confusion or if a child stops taking fluids. Avoid exposure to cigarettes.
DIARRHOEA AND VOMITING – Most diarrhoea and vomiting is caused by a virus or by eating bad food. After each vomit a child should have nothing for an hour. Then only about an ounce (one inch of fluid from a cup) every quarter of an hour, for the next 6 hours. Then try slowly increasing fluids and they can start nibbling food, if there is no further vomiting after another 6 hours. Dilute fruit juice or water can be used if diarrhoea is mild. If a child is drinking well he/she is unlikely to be harmed by diarrhoea. Rehydration sachets can be bought. Colicky pain is to be expected, but constant worsening pain over several hours in one place, or blood in the motions should not be ignored. In small babies with persistent diarrhoea or vomiting where no fluid is kept down for more than 12 hours there is a risk of dehydration, so phone for advice.
EARACHE – Earache is a common symptom in children and often comes with a cold. Treat it with painkillers like Paracetamol (Calpol or Disprol). It will usually settle in a day or two. If your child has a discharge from the ear, ring the surgery during the day for an appointment. Ear infections are rarely treated with antibiotics nowadays.
SORE THROATS – Symptoms can be helped by taking Paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluid and using lozenges/throat sweets. Most sore throats will settle with this treatment in a week or so. Antibiotics are usually not used, unless inability to swallow fluids or high fever persists.
COLDS AND SINUS PAINS – give plenty of fluids and Paracetamol. Inhalations with steam and Karvol/Menthol crystals/Olbas Oil can help clear the nose. If it is very blocked you could buy a decongestant spray [but only use it for a week or two] .
TEMPERATURE/ILL – Children often run temperatures with no worrying symptoms. If severe, remove their clothes down to vest and pants and keep the room temperature down. If necessary, sponge them with luke warm water (not cold water) or use a fan. Paracetamol=Calpol=Disprol at the right dose for their age, four times a day, can make them feel better and lower the temperature. Ibuprofen=Nurofen at the right dose for their age, three times a day is an alternative It can cause nausea or vomiting, so best avoided if these with these symptoms are present. If a high temperature persists and the child appears very unwell, you should phone for advice. A child with a temperature will not come to any harm being wrapped up and brought to the surgery. Other worrying features would be a child that can’t be woken up, or complains of new leg pains, or has a bruising rash that persists when pressed with a glass.
CONJUNCTIVITIS - usually viral. Bathing with boiled cooled water is best. Exclusion from school is no longer advised by the Health Protection Agency.
ANTIBIOTICS - are seldom used for the conditions above as they can cause diarrhoea/thrush/ or sometimes MRSA/severe allergic reaction. They are, however, usually helpful in bronchitis or pneumonia, abscesses or urinary infections.
Treatment advice - Adults
PAINKILLERS - often don’t ‘kill’ pain, & can all affect kidneys, liver, or blood
1.Paracetamol 1st step.
Maximum = 8 /day, separately or mixed
2.Cocodamol contains bothparacetamol and codeine
2.Codeine or tramadol or dihydrocodeine can cause drowsiness, depression, constipation, or even, with prolonged continuous use, loss of effectiveness or addiction. So use intermittently and avoid alcohol or driving when using these medications.
3.Ibuprofen [or diclofenac or naproxen] are also effective but may cause indigestion or ulcers, anemia or, occasionally, heart trouble or raise blood pressure or set off asthma. Regular alcohol may make the above side effects more likely. They take a week to reach full pain relieving effect.
SELFCARE- eating healthy food, especially fruit , avoiding alcohol, going to bed early and keeping well wrapped up [unless you have a fever] all help your immune system to fight any infection more quickly and thoroughly.
ANTIBIOTICS-usually do not work for common conditions like colds and flu. Side effects of antibiotics include diarrhoea/thrush/or sometimes MRSA/severe allergy or even death. They are, however, useful in bronchitis or pneumonia, abscesses or urinary infections.
COUGH – Try honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice (full of Vitamin C) in hot water. Steam inhalations, or a cough medicine, sometimes help. (Pholcodine cough suppressant is particularly useful at night for adults) See a doctor if there is frequent [several times an hour] green spit throughout the day, or blood, or breathlessness or chest pain, or if a cough is not settling after 4 weeks. Avoid smoking.
DIARRHOEA or VOMITING or INTERMITTENT ABDOMINAL PAIN – Usually due to a virus or from eating bad food. Cut down on food and take fluids often but in small amounts. If vomiting, after each vomit, drink nothing for an hour. Then take only about an inch of fluid from a cup every quarter of an hour for the next 6 hours. Then, if no further vomit, try slowly increasing fluids eg diluted fruit juice, or water and nibbling a little food. Rehydration sachets can be bought. Intermittent pain is usually not too serious, but constant worsening pain over several hours in one place, jaundice, or blood in the stool or vomit, or urine should not be ignored. . EARACHE – Earache often comes with a cold. Antibiotics are seldom used; treat it with painkillers as above. It will usually settle in a day or two. If you have any discharge from the ear, ask for an appointment within a day or two.
RASH – of concern is a bruise like rash which doesn’t almost disappear with pressure from a glass especially if the patient is drowsy, confused or has a fever.
SORE THROATS – Use Painkillers, and drink plenty. Antibiotics are seldom used,
COLDS AND SINUS PAINS – Use painkillers and take plenty of fluids. Inhalations with steam and Karvol/Menthol crystals/Olbas Oil can help clear the nose. If it is very blocked you could buy a decongestant [but only use it for a week or two] .
TEMPERATURE –This is the body’s response to an infection and temperature itself seldom does any harm. Treat with paracetamol –see note above. A patient with a persistent temperature will not come to any harm being wrapped up warmly and brought to the surgery if consultation becomes needed.
Symptoms not to ignore
URGENT= DON’T LEAVE TILL MONDAY ! Chest pain [Chest pain that is in a small area and also tender to touch is usually muscular and not serious] Heart pain is usually tight, across the chest sometimes spreads out to one or both arms or neck or goes along with sweating and nausea. If it comes and goes it usually does so with exertion –which stresses the heart. If such a pain lasts more than half an hour it raises the possibility of heart attack Lung pain is usually sharp like a knife going in between the ribs AND worse on taking a breath. If this persists more than an hour or two or there is marked breathlessness, help may be needed.
Abdominal pain - Pain that is constant, in one place and gets worse over several hours needs attention soon. Colicky pain is usually much less dangerous and most often is the build up to such things as a bout of food poisoning or a tummy bug.
Paralysis or loss of speech - If this is sudden onset and lasts more than a minute or two seek advice soon. On the other hand temporary ‘arm going to sleep’ from having lain on it in bed is harmless and gets better very quickly
Sudden marked reduction in vision or hearing - If this happens out of the blue in seconds rather than gradually over weeks or months seek advice soon.
Rash of concern - Is a bruise like rash which doesn’t almost disappear with pressure from a glass, especially if the patient is drowsy, confused or has a fever
LESS URGENT BUT NOT TO BE LEFT LONGER THAN A WEEK OR TWO.
Bowels - A change to looser motions for longer than 6 weeks Blood in the motion without an obvious cause such as piles/fissure.
Bladder Persistent pain on urination. Blood in the urine even if painless.
Breathing - Worsening breathlessness on exertion/walking or when you lie down.
Coughing up blood
Palpitation - Longer than 10 seconds at a time fast with an abrupt onset and stop especially if accompanied by breathlessness or chest tightness. Occasional extra beats are OK.
Menstrual Bleeding - If repeatedly between periods, or after sex and any bleeding after the menopause all need assessing.
Lumps and bumps - Skin marks or lumps that grow rapidly or are ragged shaped, and several colours or bleed.
New breast lumps - all need checking.