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First a note on these commonly-prescribed and powerful medicines: Antibiotics only work on bacteria and have no effect on viruses. This means that common infections like coughs, colds and flu will not be helped by them at all. The correct treatment is to follow the simple remedies outlined below. We only use antibiotics when these remedies fail and we suspect there is a secondary bacterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to their not working in the future and may cause thrush, skin rashes and stomach upsets.


Colds and Sinus Pains


Take plenty of fluids, paracetamol or, if over 16 years old, aspirin. Inhalations with steam, and Karvol/menthol crystals/Olbas Oil etc. can help clear the passages. You could use a decongestant such as Sudafed (available from chemists) of Vicks Sinex etc. You should be on the mend after seven to ten days and usually better after two weeks. If you are not getting better by then, make an appointment to be seen.




These can be soothed with a drink made from honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice (full of vitamins) in hot water. If particular irritating, steam inhalations can be worthwhile. Cough medicines may provide some relief.  If you bring up coloured phlegm, we may need to check your chest.




If you have a temperature and are aching a lot, paracetamol or aspirin, fluids and rest are the answer. Aspirin should not been given to children under 16. In susceptible patients, complications of flu can occur. If you are particularly unwell, especially with symptoms of a chest infection, please contact the Surgery for advice.


Sore Throats


If over 16 years of age, gargle with soluble aspirin, otherwise paracetamol, drink plenty and use lozenges or boiled sweets if they help. Most sore throats will settle with this treatment in three to five days.



As for sore throats, try steam inhalations, rest your voice and avoid smoke.



Children often have fever with no other symptoms. They need to be cooled down and then they will feel much better. Remove their clothes down their vest and pants and keep the room temperature down. Use Calpol/Disprol etc. and, if necessary, sponge them with luke warm, not cold, water or blow them with a fan or hairdryer on its coolest setting. If they are unwell with symptoms of listlessness or not taking adequate fluid, please seek further advice with delay. Similarly, if there is no improvement after 48 hours we will need to see them.



Diarrhoea and Vomiting


This usually settles in one to three days and we recommend that you avoid all foods for 12 to 24 hours, but drink plenty of fluids in small amounts. If the vomiting is very frequent, special re-hydration drinks such as Dioralyte are useful and are available from Chemists. Avoid milk, dairy produce, and fatty/spicy food when appetite returns. Instead try dry bread, toast, thin soups, potato, chicken etc. If the diarrhoea does not settle, try natural yoghurt (you can flavour it if you like). Tummy colic can be eased with paracetamol and will settle in a few days.



Childhood Rashes


If a child is basically well but has a rash, this is usually because of a virus and this will settle untreated in only a few days. We would want to see the child if they are unwell with the rash.



Chicken Pox


This can be soothed by calamine lotion or, if it is extremely itchy, by antihistamines like Phenergan/Piriton (which are available from Chemists). It is infectious for five days after the last batch of spots has appeared.





The Minor Ailments Scheme


The scheme means that you don’t need to wait to see a Doctor because your pharmacist can give advice and treatment for these ailments and if you don’t pay for your prescription then you won’t be charged for the medicines supplied by your pharmacist.  ALL pharmacies in the area are involved in the scheme.


The scheme includes treatment for the following ailments:


Chesty Cough                         Dry Cough

Sore throat                              Athlete’s foot

Headache/earache                Haemorrhoids

Temperature                            Nappy rash

Blocked nose                           Mouth Ulcers

Hay fever                                 Insect bites and stings

Head lice                                 Indigestion/heartburn

Tummy upset                           Diarrhoea       

Constipation                           Thrush




Family Medicine Chest


The following is a list of items and medicines that we think should be a part of every family’s first aid kit:


    • Paracetamol and Aspirin (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen Syrup for children) - Aspirin should not be taken by under 16s or people with Aspirin allergy

    • Dehydration mixtures such as Dioralyte

    • Indigestion remedies e.g. Maalox or Gaviscon, milk of magnesia

    • Sunscreen which should be factor 15 or higher

    • Calamine lotion for after sun treatment

    • Tweezers and sharp scissors

    • Thermometer

    • Selection of plasters, cotton wool, non-fluffy dressings such as lint and elastic bandages


Keep this in a secure locked place out of the reach of small children.  Always read the instructions and use the recommended dose.  Watch the expiry dates and do not keep medicines beyond this.  Take unwanted or out of date medicines back to the pharmacy for safe disposal.

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