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Colds

Even in this day and age there is still no magic cure for the common cold. Go to bed, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish take aspirin or paracetamol.

Antibiotics have no effect on the common cold.

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea in adults usually clears by itself in a few days. The symptoms can usually be eased by a medicine called Loperamide, available from the chemist. Consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.

Nosebleeds

Sit in a chair (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped.  Repeat once if necessary. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Insect Bites And Stings

Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms. Applying calamine lotion is also helpful. Note: bee stings should be scraped away rather than “plucked” in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.

Chickenpox

The most infectious period is from two or three days before the rash appears and up to five days after this date. Children may return to school as soon as the last ‘crusts’ have dropped off.

Head Lice

These are most easily detected by fine tooth combing through really wet hair. If head lice are discovered there are two available options. Firstly, the ‘conditioning and wet combing’ method is less expensive and more successful. Secondly, by using overnight lotions, which are available from a chemist without a prescription. Contact your health visitor for more advice.

Burns

Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. This may take as long as 15 minutes. If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose, dry dressing. If the burn is larger than four or five inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Sunburn

Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine lotion will relieve the irritation, whilst paracetamol will also help.

Here is a list of useful medicines and dressings with a description of their uses. All are quite cheap and worth stocking at home in readiness for minor illnesses.

Keep them in a box or cupboard with a lock - or store them well out of the reach of children.

Soluble Aspirin Tablets

For adults and children over 16. Good for headaches, colds, sore throats and painful bruises.

Paracetamol Mixture

For relief of pain or fever in young children.

Sedative Cough Linctus

For dry or painful coughs - but not coughs caused by common colds.

Menthol Crystals

Add to hot water to make steam inhalations for treating catarrh and dry or painful coughs.

Vapour Rub

Again, for steam inhalations. Also useful for children with stuffy noses or dry coughs. Rub on the chest and nose.

Ephedrine Nose Drops

For runny noses in children over one year old. Use before meals and at night but not for more than four days.

Antiseptic Solution

One teaspoon diluted in warm water for cleaning cuts and grazes.

Antiseptic Cream

For treating septic spots, sores in the nose and grazes.

Calamine Lotion

For dabbing (not rubbing) on insect bites, stings and sunburn.

Dressing Strips

For minor cuts.

3” Wide Crepe Bandage

To keep dressings in place. To support sprained or bruised joints.

Cotton Wool

For cleaning cuts and grazes.

Thermometer

For fevers.

Tweezers

For removing splinters.

Remember that your local chemist can give you advice about medicines.