Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that can be easily resolved without a doctor's appointment.
It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot. By visiting your pharmacy instead, you could save yourself time and trouble.
Click here to read our page about self care
Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.
Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.
Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time - you don't need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. Your local Pharmacist can also advise on healthy eating.
Pharmacists can also advise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from the chemist without a prescription. Watch this short video on how you can get the most out of your local pharmacy
NHS Walk-In Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services for patients based in England only. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:
NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.
Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.
Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and affects almost everyone from time to time. A common cause in both children and adults is gastroenteritis, an infection of the bowel.
Bouts of diarrhoea in adults may also be brought on by anxiety or drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Diarrhoea may also be a side effect of a medication
NHS Choices Symptoms, causes, treatment and information
Macmillan Cancer Support Diarrhoea as a result of cancer treatments
To save them on your computer, right-click on any of the links below and then click 'Save Target As..." . Click on any of the links below to play the audio files:
Burns - Explains the immediate treatment for burns and scalds.
Fits - How to deal with fits (convulsions/seizures) in adults and young children.
Wounds - Immediate actions for wounds, bleeding, and bleeding associated with fractures.
Unconscious patient who is breathing - How to deal with an unrousable patient who IS breathing (includes recovery position)
CPR for adults - Adults who have collapsed, unrousable and NOT breathing.
CPR for babies - Babies who are unrousable and NOT breathing.
Collapsed patient in detail - Explains the complete scenario including checks for breathing, circulation, etc.
These files have been prepared by Sussex Ambulance Service and comply with European Resuscitation Council Guidelines.
British Red Cross - First Aid Tips Simple, straightforward and easy to understand first aid tips
St Johns Ambulance St John Ambulance believes that everyone should learn at least the basic first aid techniques.
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. Usually it's a self-limiting infection – this means it gets better by itself without the need for treatment.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year. Adults who come into contact with children tend to get more colds. This is because children usually carry more of the virus, for longer.
In the UK, you’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months although the reasons why aren’t fully understood at present.
For most people, a cold will get better on its own within a week of the symptoms starting without any specific treatment. However, there are treatments that can help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. These are available from your pharmacy, which means that you can treat yourself, rather than needing to see your GP.
There is no cure for colds. Antibiotics, which treat infections caused by bacteria, don't work on cold viruses.
There are a number of self-help measures that may help to ease the symptoms of a cold.
You should try to make sure you get enough rest if you have a cold. It’s not usually necessary to stay off work or school.
Colds & Flu A factsheet on the causes, symptoms, treatment & prevention of colds & the flu
NHS Choices - is it the common cold or the flu? Colds and flu can share some of the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat) but are caused by different viruses, and flu can be much more serious. Find out
Factsheet - Common ColdInformation about the diagnosis, treatment and symptoms of the common cold
A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.As it progresses, the infection can cause:
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete's foot infecting the nails. These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You're more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this (see below) if you have an infection.
Treatment isn't always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it's unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it's not worth treating. Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene (see below) to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others. Speak to your pharmacist if you're bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, and to a GP if it's causing problems such as pain and discomfort. Possible treatment options include:
As of April 2017, due to growing financial pressures on the NHS, the local commissioning group (CCG) have placed restrictions on certain medications being available on prescription. This includes any treatment for fungal nail infections that are considered cosmetic. Therefore if:
you will have to source your treatment privately. This can be done by buying the nail lacquer over the counter at most pharmacies, or obtaining the oral medication online: see below for a link to a google search which will help direct your search.
Google Search for Terbinafine
You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by:
Dizziness is a very common problem, and it can mean many things to many people. The information here is only covering vertigo - the sensation that you or the room is spinning.
If you experience any CHEST PAINS, PALPITATIONS (feeling the heart beat quickly), SHORTNESS OF BREATH, COLLAPSE or LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS with your dizziness, seek medical attention immediately through contacting your GP or 111 / 999 as appropriate out of hours.
BPPV is a common cause of dizziness. It occurs in people of all ages but is more common in middle-aged and elderly people. It causes short bursts of intense dizziness when the body or head is placed in certain positions such as lying on one side in bed or looking upwards. People can feel sick and are sometimes unsteady for a few hours after the dizziness has gone away.
There is a collection of tiny crystals inside your ear. They have a valuable role to play when sitting in the correct position. BPPV occurs when the crystals are dislodged from their correct position. They move into one or more of the semi-circular canals and either continue to float around or become attached to another part of the ear.
Like vestibular neuronitis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) often clears up without treatment after several weeks or months. It's thought that the small fragments of debris in the ear canal that cause vertigo either dissolve or become lodged in a place where they no longer cause symptoms. BPPV can sometimes return.
Until the symptoms disappear or the condition is treated, you should:
BPPV can be treated using a procedure called the Epley manoeuvre.
The Epley manoeuvre involves performing four separate head movements to move the fragments that cause vertigo to a place where they no longer cause symptoms. Each head position is held for at least 30 seconds. You may experience some vertigo during the movements.
Your symptoms should improve shortly after the Epley manoeuvre is performed, although it may take up to two weeks for a complete recovery. Return to your GP if your symptoms haven't improved after four weeks. The Epley manoeuvre isn't usually a long-term cure and may need to be repeated.
If the Epley manoeuvre doesn't work, or if it's not suitable – for example, because you have neck or back problems – you can also try Brandt-Daroff exercises. These are a series of movements you can do unsupervised at home.
To learn how to do these exercises click this link, or the attachment below. You repeat them three or four times a day for two days in a row. Your symptoms may improve for up to two weeks.
Brandt Daroff Exercises
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection. It causes a delicate structure deep inside your ear called the labyrinth to become inflamed, affecting your hearing and balance.
The most common symptoms are dizziness, hearing loss (from mild to total loss of hearing) and vertigo – the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, with some people feeling that they are unable to remain upright. Other symptoms include:
Certain things can make the dizziness worse, including:
See your GP if you have these symptoms. You should also avoid driving, using tools and machinery, or working at heights if you're feeling dizzy.
Drink plenty of liquid, little and often, particularly water, to avoid becoming dehydrated.
In its early stages, you may feel constantly dizzy and it can give you severe vertigo. You should rest in bed to avoid falling and injuring yourself. After a few days, the worst of these symptoms should have passed and you should no longer feel dizzy all the time.
You can do several things to minimise any remaining feelings of dizziness and vertigo. For example:
You should also avoid driving, using tools and machinery or working at heights if you're feeling dizzy and unbalanced.
If your dizziness, vertigo and loss of balance are particularly severe, your GP may prescribe a short course of medication such as benzodiazepine or antiemetics (vestibular sedatives).
The time taken to fully recover from labyrinthitis / vestibular neuronitis can vary. The older you are, the longer it can take to fully recover, varying from a few weeks to a few months.
Most joint aches and pains can be managed at home with exercise therapy. If you are however uncertain about your particular aches or pains, please contact the GP practice.
Highlighted below are some of the exercise leaflets provided by online resources to aid recover of joint aches and pains:
Please find below links to excellent home exercises that can be safely used to treat common muscular / joint pains.
Hip Pain Exercises
Back Pain Exercises
Knee Pains / Knee osteoarthritis
Knee Pain Exercises
Shoulder pains / shoulder arthritis
Tennis elbow / elbow pains
Elbow Pain Exercises
Ankle Sprain Leaflet
Foot Pain Leaflet
Plantar Fasciitis Leaflet
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