St Augustine's Medical Practice
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SELF-HELP AND EMERGENCIES

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Non-Emergencies

Minor illnesses are common and you can often manage them yourself with the help of this guide. It also gives advice when you should seek help from the doctor, and an indication of how urgently this needs to be done.

Please remember you can call 111, which provides professional medical advice 24 hours a day.

PALS (The Patient Advice and liason Service) provides confidential advice and support to patients, families and their carers; information on the NHS and health related matters; confidential assistance in resolving problems and concerns quickly. Call 01225 831717

Remember you could also go to the Nurse-led NHS Walk-in Centres located at;

  • BATH - Riverside Health Centre, James Street West, Bath
  • BRISTOL SOUTH - Knowle West Health Park, Downton Road, Knowle, Bristol
  • BRISTOL CENTRAL - Emergency Dept, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, Bristol

 

Medicines at home

Paracetamol is suitable for relieving a temperature, headache or toothache. The adult dose is 2 tablets every 4 hours when necessary, maximum 8 tablets in 24 hours.

Ibuprofen is suitable for muscular strains, period pains or toothache. It should not be taken by anyone suffering from asthma or stomach ulcers. The dose is 400mg with food every 6 hours, maximum 3 doses in 24 hours. Please note both paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used alongside each other for severe pain.

 

Minor illnesses - Quick Links:


CHILDHOOD ILLNESS
BURNS

COUGH
CYSTITIS (Urine Infection)
DIARRHOEA
DISCHARGE FROM THE PENIS
HEADACHE
INFLUENZA
SORE THROAT
SUNBURN
THRUSH
VAGINAL DISCHARGE
VOMITING

 

CHILDHOOD ILLNESS
Download information leaflet

 

BURNS - put the area under cold water for at least 5 minutes. Do not put on any old wives remedies such as butter! Take paracetamol for pain. If there is a blister leave it intact. If the area is as large as the palm of your hand then see the nurse within 24 hours.

 

COUGH - usually due to a viral illness, may last 2 weeks. Try hot drinks or steam inhalations. If it keeps you awake at night you can buy linctus from the chemist. See the doctor if you are ill with it, you have pain in your chest when you take a breath in or you are wheezy or breathing rapidly.

 

CYSTITIS (Urine Infection) - symptoms are passing small amounts of urine frequently and urgently with burning. Drink lots of fluids. You can buy tablets from the chemist to treat it. If it has not cleared in 3 days then see the doctor. See the doctor sooner if you have pain in your kidney area (below ribs at the back and sides) or if you are unwell with a temperature.

 

DIARRHOEA - usually due to a virus and may be accompanied by a temperature. It is important to take plenty of fluids such as diluted juices or lucozade that has been allowed to go flat.  These make up for the fluids that you are losing. It may last several days. See the doctor if there is blood in your motions or if you have just returned from abroad. Griping stomach pain before going to the toilet is common, but if you have constant pain not relieved by having your bowel open, then see your doctor. We only send stool samples if diarrhoea persists for longer than one week, unless you have been recently abroad or you are working in food preparation.

 

DISCHARGE FROM THE PENIS - may be accompanied by pain on passing urine or pain in the testicles and may indicate a sexually transmitted infection. Make an appointment to see one of the doctors or attend one of the local sexual health clinics below. Prevention is important - use a condom.

  • RUH Sexual Health Clinic for treating and testing for sexually transmitted infections Tel: 01225 824617
  • Milne Sexual Health Clinic Tel: 0117 9282580 (for appointments), 0117 9283011 (for advice)

 

HEADACHE - many causes including viruses, stress (characteristically a feeling of a tight band round the temples in someone who is otherwise well) or migraine (a bad headache over one eye with sickness sometimes associated with zig-zag lines disturbing vision). Try sitting or lying down quietly for an hour and take paracetamol.

Everyone is worried about the uncommon possibility of meningitis. If someone is unwell with a temperature, severe headache and then drowsiness, you should phone the doctor for advice. Neck stiffness (difficulty in curling to touch your nose to your knee as it causes increase in pain) and a rash are seen late in the disease and you should call your doctor urgently if these develop. If your surgery is closed please take the patient to the nearest A&E department.

 

INFLUENZA - a viral illness causing a temperature, muscle aches, sometimes a dry cough or sore throat. It lasts several days. Drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol as above.

 

SORE THROAT - usually due to a virus. Try taking paracetamol or using soluble aspirin dissolved in a little water, as a gargle. See the doctor if you are ill with it and have a high temperature or have pus on the tonsils at the back of your mouth.

 

SUNBURN - as soon as your skin starts to go red, move out of the sun! Cool water may help the discomfort and you can take paracetamol. See the doctor if the skin is blistered. Prevention is important – sunburn causes cancer. Use high factor sunblock, and cover up with sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat, shirt and trousers. Remember that you can even get burnt in the shade or in water.

 

THRUSH - symptoms are soreness and itching on the outside or inside of the vagina, sometimes with a white discharge. Many things bring on thrush such as a course of antibiotics, using bath bubbles or scented soap which cut down the body’s own defences or getting hot under tight jeans! It may be soothing to use natural yoghurt inserted on a tampon. Tablets to be used inside the vagina to clear it can be bought from the chemist or prescribed by the doctor. It is not an urgent problem unless you have a severe pain on passing urine, pain in your lower abdomen, a temperature and a greenish or bloodstained discharge.

 

VAGINAL DISCHARGE - there are lots of bugs that can cause vaginal discharge including thrush (above), only some of which are sexually transmitted. If you have a discharge which does not seem like the description of thrush see the doctor or nurse within a few days for a swab to see what is the cause. Prevention is important‚ use a condom.

 

VOMITING - usually due to a virus and may be accompanied by diarrhoea or a temperature. Again it is important to take plenty of fluid such as diluted juices or water, some of it may come back up but some will stay down. It is best to try frequent small volumes of fluid. See the doctor if you cannot keep much down or you are not passing much urine or it is very dark which is an indication of dehydration.

 

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