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Minor illness

Medicine Box

Many minor illnesses can be treated at home without needing to come to the surgery. Your pharmacist can advise about minor illnesses and over the counter medication.

We recommend you keep useful medicines and dressings in a locked box or cupboard away from the reaches of children. The following should be obtained for your family's medicine box.

Children with Temperatures

Children can respond to infections by becoming feverish. Most infections are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and will not respond to antibiotics.

The following will help a child with a fever (temperature > 37 degrees C):

The child may be unsettled at night so continue regular fluids, tepid sponging and regular paracetamol liquid as per directions.

If your child is not improving or is particularly unwell please the contact surgery as we will always fit in children who need to see a doctor. They are safe to travel in the car.

Signs that a child needs to see a doctor

Childhood Rashes

If your child has a rash that disappears when a glass is placed over it and is well then the rash should settle within a few days. If your child is unwell or has a fever and a rash then call triage team. Any rash that does not disappear when a glass is placed over it is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY and please call a doctor or 999.

Colds and Flu

These are caused by viruses and will not respond to antibiotics. Most colds and flu will improve after 2-5 days. Treatment consists of regular paracetamol or aspirin if over 16 years old. This will help the fever and aches and pains. It is advisable to drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily whilst unwell. You may not eat a lot whilst unwell, do not worry about this. Rest as much as possible and drink plenty.

Sore throats

These are mostly caused by viruses and will settle with paracetamol in a few days. Adults and adolescents older than 16 can gargle and swallow soluble aspirin. Eat soft food and drink plenty. If your sore throat lasts longer than two weeks, if you have a high fever, if you have other serious illnesses or are taking steroids or immunosupressants then see a doctor.


Most coughs are caused by viruses and will settle in two weeks. Use simple remedies such as honey and lemon as cough medicines bought over the counter have been shown not to be effective.

Make an appointment to see a doctor if the following are present:


This is characterised by pain in the forehead and cheeks and blocked nose and ears. 65% of cases do not require treatment. Use steam inhalations and clear your ears by blowing whilst holding your nose four times a day. You can also take paracetamol regularly and some people find decongestants helpful. If the sinus problem continues for longer than a week, you have recurrent episodes or you are particularly unwell please see a doctor.


80% of earaches will settle within three days without treatment. Use regular paracetamol to keep the pain under control. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if pain is lasting longer than 2-3 days, there is associated high fever, in children < 2 years old and if both ears are affected in children. Arrange a triage appointment if needed.

Insect Bites

These appear on exposed areas in summer and are intensely itchy. They can be treated with calamine lotion and oral non drowsy anti-histamine tablets bought from the chemist. Insect bites should settle in most cases but if concerned then speak to the triage nurse. If there is a tic attached to the insect bite then try to remove the tic as close to the skin as possible by gently pulling upwards. Use antiseptic to clean insect bites. Do not use Vaseline or a lit match. If you are unsure then call triage nurse.

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

This usually settles within 1-2 days. Drink plenty of fluids and use rehydration salts (e.g. dioralyte) mixed with water. Rest the stomach by having no solid food for 24 hours and avoid spicy food and dairy products when re-introducing food.

Please call the triage doctor if any of the following are present:

Urinary Tract Infections/Urine infections

These are caused by bacteria and need antibiotic treatment. Symptoms include burning and stinging when passing urine, going to toilet more often than usual, feeling that the bladder is not completely empty, foul or strong smelling urine and not being able to control the flow of urine. They can be associated with a temperature, chills, and loin pain (pain in the sides) and lower abdominal pain. Please call the triage team if you experience these symptoms. If you are pregnant your urine infection needs treating as soon as possible so please contact the triage team.

Prevention of Urine Infections

Ear wax

Most ear wax will be removed naturally by the mechanism of the ear canal. Do not use cotton buds to remove the wax. If the wax becomes problematic by causing deafness, earache, tinnitus, dizziness or a cough then use olive oil drops twice a day for a week. Lie on your side and pour a few drops in each ear and leave it for several minutes, then repeat on the other side. If you still are having problems then make an appointment with a nurse.


Sit with your head forward with your mouth open and pinch your nose below the bone. Apply an ice pack over your forehead. Do this for 10 minutes. Once stopped avoid hot drinks and blowing your nose for 12 hours and sleep on 2-3 pillows to keep your head elevated.

If your nose bleed lasts for longer than 10 minutes then please call a doctor or go to casualty. If you are taking warfarin or aspirin then please seek medical help if the bleed is heavy and/or lasts longer than 10 minutes.


For minor burns and scalds run under cold water for as long as possible (up to 15 minutes). Use paracetamol for pain. If the skin in broken see the triage team. If the burn is severe then go to casualty.


This should be avoided especially in children by using high factor sun cream, covering up with a hat and long-sleeved clothing. Avoid the midday sun. If sunburn is unavoidable then use cold water to ease heat and use calamine lotion can reduce irritation.

Head lice

Head lice live on clean hair so are not a sign of poor hygiene. Medicated head lotion/shampoo can be bought from the chemist. Inspect all the family and treat those infected. If they recur then treat all family members at the same time.

Sprains and Minor Injuries

Apply a cold compress containing ice for 15-30 minutes to reduce swelling and elevate the limb. Take paracetamol for pain and rest the limb until the pain subsides. If this does not settle then please see doctor.

Back pain

This is normally caused by a sudden movement or injury causing lower back pain. Most cases will settle with paracetamol and ibuprofen (do not use if asthmatic or you have a history of stomach ulceration). Contrary to popular belief it is best to continue movement and not to rest. Keep a good posture. There is a leaflet available at the practice showing some exercises to help with lower backache.

If the pain is severe, does not settle after several days, is associated with numbness or weakness in the legs or you are unable to open your bladder or bowels then please see doctor via triage ASAP.

Further Information

index | surgery times | appointments | out of hours | NHS 111 | prescriptions | services | non-NHS charges | helping us | patient participation | Summary Care Record | patient data | doctors | nurses | attached staff | admin | minor illnesses | travel | pregnancy | newsletter | carers | training | complaints | map | links

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