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Fyvie Oldmeldrum Medical Group

Self Treatment of Common Illnesses and Accidents




This is very common, especially in 3-7 year olds. Fortunately it rarely leaves any long-term problems. The mainstay of treatment is Paracetamol (Calpol, Disprol etc.), which should be given four times daily until the pain subsides.


Earache used to be routinely treated with antibiotics but it has now been found that most cases will settle naturally in a few days and that antibiotics make little difference to this recovery.


Childhood fever


Most children will develop fevers at some time, usually caused by viral infections. These get better by themselves in a few days and are not helped by antibiotics. If you are concerned about their general condition please telephone the practice for advice. However the following advice will help you bring down your childメs temperature, help him/her feel better and allow the fever to improve:


Give Paracetamol (Calpol, Disprol etc.) four times daily, at the maximum dose for a child of that age. Always keep a supply at home.


Dress your child in cool clothes and make sure the room is not too hot.


Give your child plenty of cool drinks since fluid is lost with fever. If reluctant to drink, encourage your child to take frequent small sips, if necessary from a spoon.


Sponge your child down, all over the head and body, with a cloth soaked in tepid water. This will bring down the temperature and make him/her feel better. This can be repeated as often as necessary.


If your child does not improve with the above measures or appears particularly ill, then call the doctor. We will see ill children as soon as possible. You will not make your child worse by taking him/her to the surgery or GMED centre. Often this enables them to cool down and feel better.


Very rarely a child (mainly under 5) will have a febrile convulsion with a high temperature. The child suddenly shakes all over then becomes still. Lay the child on his/her side, stay with them until it stops (usually within 5 minutes) then call the doctor or have someone else call.


Sore Throat


Most sore throats are caused by viral infections and do not require antibiotic treatment. Take plenty of fluids, throat lozenges and Paracetamol or Aspirin (do not use Aspirin in children under 16). If fever and pain get worse over the next few days then make an appointment with the doctor to check for signs of tonsillitis.


Colds and Coughs


The common cold is caused by viruses and is not helped by antibiotics. Take regular Paracetamol, hot drinks and try a cough linctus or decongestant medicine from your chemist. Steam inhalations with menthol crystals, Vick, Olbus Oil etc. will help blocked up sinuses and will ease a dry cough. Voice rest and Paracetamol can help hoarseness or voice loss. The illness usually resolves within 7 days. You may need to see a doctor if symptoms persist beyond this time or if you become breathless or have a chronic chest condition.


Diarrhoea and Vomiting


Most cases of diarrhoea are caused by viral infections and cannot be treated directly. Symptoms usually ease by stopping all solids and milk, and taking clear fluids until the diarrhoea settles. Water or diluted juice is suitable. Adults (but not children) can take anti-diarrhoeal tablets. Once symptoms settle you can try light food such as biscuits or toast. The same basic advice applies to babies and young children. Stop solid feeding and milk and give frequent small feeds of water or dilute juice. If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours or are accompanied by persisting vomiting, blood in vomit or diarrhoea, severe pain or weakness, please contact us.




Prevention is much better than cure. Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sun cream (regularly). We donメt get a lot of sun in our area so don't go crazy when it does appear! Try to keep young children in the shade. If you get burned use calamine lotion and take Paracetamol and extra fluids. Remember that avoiding burning can reduce the risk of skin cancer.




Sit in a chair leaning forward with your mouth open and pinch your nose at the soft part just below the bone for at least five minutes without releasing your grip. This should be timed with a watch, as it will seem like a long time! If bleeding continues after trying this a few times then call us.


Burns and Scalds


Apply large quantities of cold water to the burn as soon as possible. Try to keep the burn under cold running water until the pain subsides. This may take up to 15 minutes. If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose clean dry dressing. If the burn is larger than 4 inches in diameter, or if the skin is broken, then telephone the practice for advice.


Bruises and Sprains (with unbroken skin)


Cool the injured area as soon as possible with an icepack or a bag of frozen peas/sweet corn etc. Use a wet cloth to avoid the ice contacting the skin directly. Keep the ice on for 15 minutes at a time and try to repeat this every 2 hours over the first day. Rest the area to avoid further injury and try to keep the area elevated to help reduce swelling.




Raise the limb and use firm pressure with a clean cloth or dressing until bleeding stops. If the wound is gaping and looks like requiring stitching or if there is heavy bleeding then contact the doctor.


Insect Bites and Stings


If necessary remove any stings and clean the area affected. Bee stings should be scraped away rather than plucked to avoid squeezing more poison into the wound. Antihistamine tablets or liquid from the chemist will usually relieve most symptoms. Stings inside the throat can cause dangerous swelling. Contact the doctor immediately in this case.




Try not to panic. Do not try to retrieve the object from the throat since this risks pushing it down further. Hold young children across your knee and hit them firmly between the shoulder blades or give them a short squeeze on the tummy. Hold adults from behind just below the ribs in a bear hug and give several short squeezes. If ineffective, contact the practice and also dial 999 for an ambulance.


Back Pain


This is a common complaint. It is appropriate to rest initially and take painkillers regularly e.g. Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Solpadeine etc. Ice packs applied to an acutely strained area can help in the first day. Thereafter applying heat can relieve pain. Try to keep active and aim to regain normal activity as soon as possible. Contact the doctor if you have any of the following;

  • severe pain
  • pain which goes down one leg
  • persistent numbness or weakness in a leg
  • difficulty passing urine or opening your bowels.

These symptoms suggest a 'slipped disc' which may require further treatment.




Frequent passing of urine, which stings or burns, suggests cystitis, which is sometimes caused by urinary infection. Drink plenty of fluids. If this fails to help or if you pass blood in the urine or have back pain or fever, then contact the doctor.


Emergency Contraception


The モmorning after pillヤ can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sex but it is most effective when taken as soon as possible.


It is now possible to buy this 'over the counter' at pharmacies without seeing a doctor. Alternatively, the duty doctor may be able to prescribe this over the phone without you having to attend the Health Centre. It is helpful (but not essential) if you indicate to the receptionist that you wish advice about emergency contraception and she will allocate a suitable degree of urgency to your request. All information given to the receptionist is completely confidential.


If you are not sure if you are at risk please contact us to talk it over - don't cross your fingers and hope for the best!

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