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Home Treatments

Back Pain

Most low back pain will settle within a few days. Painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are usually helpful. Keep mobile but avoid heavy physical activity until the pain eases. Seek further advice if pain is very severe, there are other symptoms, or if symptoms persist.

Burns And Scalds

As soon as possible, place the burned area under cold running water for at least 10 minutes to reduce the extent of the burn. Apply a loose dry dressing if the skin is not broken. If the area is larger than a few centimetres or the skin is broken see a doctor or nurse. As a First Aid measure, after running under cold water, a clean plastic bag or piece of cling film can make a useful temporary non-fluffy dressing.

Insect Bites And Stings

Antihistamine tablets, Eurax cream or hydrocortisone cream are available from the chemist to help with itching and swelling.

Diarrhoea And Vomiting

Most stomach upsets settle after a few days without any special treatment. Avoid food for 24 hours, or until vomiting settles. Pay attention to fluid intake; drinking small sips frequently usually maintains fluids adequately, either dilute squash, water or made-up sachets of rehydration powders that you can buy at the chemist. If symptoms do not settle or are particularly severe, consult the doctor or nurse.


Sit with your head leaning forwards over a bowl or sink. Firmly pinch the soft part of the nose between the bone and nostrils for 10 minutes by which time the bleeding will usually have stopped. Afterwards try not to blow your nose or sneeze which may start the bleeding again. If the bleeding continues, seek medical advice.


Rest the part during the first few days. Gentle exercise once the swelling has settled will help recovery. Ice / cold compress in the form of a cold flannel or pack of frozen peas in a towel will reduce swelling. Apply a firm crepe or tubigrip bandage. Elevate to help keep any swelling down.

Minor Cuts And Bruises

Make sure the wound is thoroughly cleaned with water or antiseptic solution. Bleeding will usually respond to firm pressure with a clean dressing for 10 mins. Apply antiseptic cream and a clean dry dressing.

Temperatures In Children

A temperature is a normal part of the body’s response to infection, even a simple cold, and is not necessarily serious in itself. Make sure the child is stripped down to their underwear. Use a fan if you have one. Give regular doses of paracetamol suspension (eg Calpol, Disprol), and children’s ibuprofen suspension. Pay attention to the doses on the packaging. If you are concerned about the general condition of your child or the duration of the illness, seek further medical advice.

Hay Fever

This is a common allergy to pollen which causes itching, watering eyes; sneezing and a blocked nose. A number of effective medications are available from the chemist, Opticrom eye drops, antihistamine tablets and steroid nasal sprays. Simple measures are often surprisingly helpful, such as using sunglasses, closing windows in the afternoon and evening, and car windows whilst driving to reduce pollen exposure.

Colds And Flu

These often start with a runny nose, sore throat, cough and temperature. They are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotics. Paracetamol and ibuprofen will treat the temperature and muscle aches (check the dose on the packet). Keep drinking plenty of fluids, particularly during a fever.

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