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General Health Care



General Health Advice/Care

There are some minor illnesses which we can all treat ourselves, but sometimes we don’t know how long they should last of when to ask for help.

Here’s a handy list of some of the main illnesses and what you can expect:

ILLNESS, LASTS ON AVERAGE&WHAT CAN YOU DO TO EASE SYMPTOMS?

  • Middle-ear infection 4 days – Have plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids, ask a pharmacist to recommend medicines to help your symptoms
  • Fever is a sign the body is fighting infection and usually gets better by itself. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce fever. If symptoms persist, please contact your pharmacist or GP
  • Sore throat 7 days
  • Common cold 10 days
  • Sinusitis 18 days
  • Cough or bronchitis 21 days
  • Upset stomach, diarrhoea and vomiting 2 days

For further advice on self-care, please visit: www.nhs.co.uk and www.patient.co.uk

IF YOU NEED ADVICE, YOUR LOCAL PHARMACIST CAN HELP

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and are able to diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments immediately, without the need to make an appointment. They are open long hours, at weekends and evenings and there are many pharmacies on the local high street and in supermarkets.They can give advice, or where appropriate, medicines that can help to clear up the problem and offer a range of branded or non-branded medicines. If you have any questions about the differences between these products they would be happy to talk to you.Instead of booking an appointment with your GP, you can see your local pharmacist any time by just walking in. Check where your nearest Pharmacists is on NHS Choices.

Know when we will be open

You can find our opening hours by click on our surgeries on our home page,for opening hours, and locations, you can use any of our sites.If you need to see a GP when the practice is closed, contact the NHS 111 service, for more information and advice visit NHS Choices.

For help and advice when it’s not an emergency, call 111

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones and the service is open 24Hrs 365 days a year. If you call 111, you will speak to a trained adviser supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and direct you to the best medical care for you. For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or Pharmacist

Holiday Tips – Passport and Medication

Think about paying a visit to your local pharmacy as part of your pre-holiday preparations? Pharmacies can provide a range of advice to make sure you’re prepared for common illnesses before you set off.The fun can easily be taken out of your holiday if you experience a stomach upset, sunburn, insect bites or sprains and strains. You can the most of your holiday and save yourself a trip to the resort’s pharmacy by visiting one at home to stock up before you go.

If you regularly take certain medication, head down to your local pharmacy to make sure you have your repeat prescriptions in advance. Some pharmacies abroad don’t have access to the same medication your own pharmacy does so it’s better to be prepared. Make sure you are aware about types and quantities of medicines you are allowed to take into the country you’re visiting, as this can vary. Check out NHS Choices for further info on what to include in a basic first aid kit and pop one in your suitcase.If you’re travelling in Europe be sure to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available free at https://www.ehic.org.uk . For more information on whether you require a vaccination before travelling to a foreign country, visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

Travel first aid kit checklist

  • antiseptic
  • painkillers
  • wound-cleaning gauze
  • sterile dressings
  • bandage tape
  • plasters
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • thermometer
  • antihistamines
  • sunburn treatment
  • insect repellent
  • insect bite treatment
  • medication for pre-existing medical conditions

Allergies

Spring and summer are the time of year when allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever can get much worse, with symptoms including sneezing, coughing, skin rashes and shortness of breath.

But there’s no need to get bogged down by runny noses, itchy eyes, irritated skin and tickly throats.

Hay fever affects around one in four people in the UK with the main triggers being grass and pollen.

As the pollen count climbs, hay fever can make everyday life miserable and tiring, with sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and an itchy throat among the list of symptoms.

There are lots of medicines and remedies available from local pharmacies to make life more comfortable and stop the negative effects of pollen overload.

Try these top tips to help ease symptoms:

  • Don’t mow your lawn when the pollen count is high
  • Create a barrier by smearing balm on your nostrils or using a nasal spray from your pharmacist.
  • Avoid outside activity when the air is warming up and cooling down, as pollen count is highest.
  • Open bedroom windows at night, but close them in the morning.
  • Dust with a damp or microfiber cloth and vacuum regularly to stop pollen from becoming airborne.
  • Wash your hair – pollen can stick to your hair and then transfer to your pillow.For further advice, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can also advise where to go if symptoms of stings or allergies become a cause for concern. For more information visit www.nhs.uk

 

Have fun in the sun

Most of us enjoy spending time in the sun but, despite the advice, it seems Brits can still be prone to overdoing exposure to the sun’s rays. It’s easy to underestimate your time to the sun and not realise you’re getting burnt.While sunburn is usually short-lived and mild, it’s important to avoid because it can increase the chances of developing skin cancer in later life.The first thing to do if you or your child has sunburn is to get out of direct sunlight as soon as possible.Cool skin by sponging it with cool water or by having a cool bath or shower – applying a cold compress to the affected area may also help.Drink plenty of fluids to bring temperature down and prevent dehydration.Apply a water-based cream, emollient or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) to keep skin cool and moist. If necessary, take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.Try to avoid all sunlight, including through windows, by covering up the affected areas of skin until your skin has fully healed.

You should contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:

  • the sunburn is over a large area
  • there is blistering or swelling of the skin
  • you have chills or a high temperature of 38C or above, or 37.5C or above in children under five.
  • there are symptoms of dizziness, headaches and feeling sick (possible heat exhaustion).

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion causes extreme tiredness as a result of a decrease in blood pressure and blood volume. It’s caused by a loss of body fluids after being exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time.Someone with heat exhaustion will feel sick, faint and sweat heavily. They should go immediately to a cool place and drink plenty of water. Remove excess clothing and you should start to feel better within half an hour with no long-term complications.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a more serious condition than heat exhaustion and occurs when the body’s temperature becomes dangerously high. The body is no longer able to cool itself and starts to overheat.Groups more at risk of developing heatstroke are:

  • children under two
  • very elderly people
  • people with kidney, heart or circulation problems
  • people with diabetes

Signs of heatstroke include dry skin, vertigo, confusion, headache, thirst, nausea, rapid shallow breathing (hyperventilation) and muscle cramps.Suspected heatstroke should always be regarded as an emergency, and you should dial 999 to request an ambulance.While waiting for the ambulance you should:

  • immediately move person to a cool area
  • increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan
  • give water to drink (if the person is conscious), but don’t give them medication such as aspirin or paracetamol
  • shower skin with cool, but not cold, water (15-18°C); alternatively, cover their body with cool, damp towels or sheets.

 

Left untreated, heatstroke can lead to complications, such as brain damage and organ failure. It’s also possible to die from heatstroke.There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting heat exhaustion and heatstroke:

  • stay out of hot sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • avoid extreme physical exertion
  • have plenty of cold drinks, but avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with high water content
  • take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • sprinkle water over your skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.



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