Quayside Medical Practice82-84 Strand RoadDerry, BT48 7NNTel: 02871 262790
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.
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.
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
SELF CARE FORUM FACT SHEET NO. 2 (version 1.0.1.)
Produced by the Self Care Forum (www.selfcareforum.org). Last revised on 4 Mar 14. Please contact Libby
Whittaker on 020 7421 9318 or email email@example.com with comments or suggestions.
This fact sheet helps you to know what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect to happen if you
or your child suffer from atopic eczema (atopic means ‘sensitivity to allergens’). It also tells
you when you should become concerned and when it’s best to seek medical advice from a
health professional. When talking of eczema, we mean atopic eczema in this fact sheet.
What skin changes does eczema cause? If you suffer from eczema, your skin can
appear red (or darker, if you have dark skin), swollen, crusty and cracking. Itching
is common and often caused by skin dryness, infection, allergens or scratching.
How common is eczema? You’re not alone. Eczema is an often persistent or
recurrent dry skin condition, affecting about 2 out of 10 children and two to 10
out of every 100 adults in the UK.
What’s causing it? Eczema tends to start in childhood and is influenced by
genetic and environmental factors. People with eczema often suffer other
allergic conditions as well, such as asthma or hay fever, or both. Food allergy may
sometimes be responsible in children who present with more severe eczema
early in life.
What can I expect to happen?
How bad can eczema get? The severity of eczema can range from mild to quite
severe. Around eight out of 10 children have mild eczema, with episodic flareups.
Will I get cured? Many children with eczema ‘grow out’ of it by the time they
reach adolescence. But in some people, eczema may persist life-long.
Fortunately, while there is no known cure, many effective treatments are
available to alleviate your symptoms and reduce inflammation.
What can I do myself to get better – now and in the future?
Avoid trigger factors Environmental allergens (such as dust-mite antigens or
pollen), irritants (such as detergents or dirt), certain foods, pet dander, smoke,
certain weather conditions and stress may all impact on eczema. Try to find out
whether any of these impact on your eczema and minimise them.
Avoid soap Avoid soap and bubble bath, as both can dry out the skin. Use
emollients as soap substitutes.
Avoid scratching too hard Scratching is a natural reflex, but scratching too hard
can make the itch even worse (the ‘itch-scratch cycle’). So whenever possible,
avoid scratching your skin too hard with your fingernails – even if it’s tempting.
Instead, rub itchy patches gently with your fingertips.
Avoid temperature extremes Hot and cold temperatures may also make your
eczema worse. So dress appropriately for hot and cold environments, or try to
avoid temperature extremes altogether.
Use non-irritant garments Synthetic garments and wool can trigger eczema, so
you may prefer wearing clothes made out of cotton or other non-irritant
Moisturisers Eczema causes the skin to become dry, and the dryer the skin
becomes, the higher the chances that your symptoms will get worse. So try to
keep your skin as hydrated and smooth as possible by using your moisturising
creams or ointments regularly and liberally, even when your skin appears ‘clear’.
Inflammation and flare-ups Speak to your pharmacist about how you can step
up/down treatments. Antihistamines can help with itching.
Detergents Avoid using fabric conditioners and consider adding an extra rinse
cycle when using a washing machine.
When should I seek medical help?
Contact your GP surgery when you feel you need help. Rarely, eczema needs more
urgent assessment and treatment, so seek medical advice if you notice any of the
Reduced quality of life Your skin problems severely affect your sleep or impair
social activities such as swimming.
Infection Cracking, weeping and painful skin may suggest infection.
Blistery rash You develop a painful blistery rash, which may be due to an
infection with the herpes simplex virus.
Spread Larger areas of your body, such as most of your chest, back, or limbs
become dry and/or red.
Where can I find out more?
There’s a lot you can do to relieve symptoms if your eczema gets worse. Check out
NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/eczema-
(atopic)/Pages/Introduction.aspx) and the National Eczema Society website
(www.eczema.org) as well as www.nottinghameczema.org.uk for further
information on how you can treat and prevent eczema. Remember that your
pharmacist can also help you with assessing and treating your symptoms.
SELF CARE FORUM FACT SHEET NO. 3 (version 1.0.1.)
Whittaker 020 7421 9318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or suggestions.
Heartburn and Indigestion
suffer from heartburn or indigestion (also called dyspepsia). It also tells you when you
should become concerned and when it’s best to seek medical advice from a health
Dyspepsia is common You’re not alone. Symptoms in the upper abdomen may
affect up to 4 out of 10 people in any one year.
How does it present? Heartburn and indigestion are symptoms of pain or
discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest. They often result from overeating,
eating high fat meals or being overweight.
Timing Symptoms typically occur after meals.
Other problems Dyspepsia is commonly accompanied by belching, and feeling
bloated or sick.
What causes dyspepsia? Common causes include acid reflux from your stomach,
inflammation of the gullet, certain medicines (check the patient information
leaflet), infection with a bug called helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori), or when part
of the stomach squeezes through the diaphragm muscle into the chest (known as
hiatus hernia). Less commonly, a stomach ulcer or cancer of the stomach or
gullet may be responsible. Sometimes, no underlying cause can be found (this is
known as functional dyspepsia).
Duration Your symptoms will usually improve within one or two weeks. But if
you find that you keep taking indigestion medicines all the time for several weeks
or that your symptoms affect your day to day life, you need to consult your GP.
Effect of changing your diet In about 8 out of 10 people, symptoms will improve
by making lifestyle changes alone, such as healthier eating and losing weight.
Avoid fatty and fried meals, and eating large meals late in the day. Also try to
avoid carbonated soft drinks, coffee and alcohol. Eat slowly and chew properly.
Medication If lifestyle changes alone don’t work, you can expect your symptoms
to improve by taking over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed medication.
Investigations Most people don’t need any tests. But if your symptoms aren’t
controlled, or your GP suspects a particular underlying cause, you may need
further testing. This may include looking into your gullet and stomach with a thin
and flexible tube-like camera (called endoscope) and blood or stool tests.
Smoking Reduce or stop smoking, which may help improve your symptoms.
OTC Medicines Various drugs that neutralise the acid in your stomach (antacids)
as well as other drugs called H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors
(PPIs) are available without prescription over the counter at pharmacies, in
petrol stations and in supermarkets. It’s best not to take these medicines for
prolonged periods without consulting a pharmacist or other health professional.
Visit www.medicinechestonline.com for lists of medicines available without
prescription at pharmacies and other stores.
Avoiding aspirin-like drugs If you take OTC anti-inflammatory pain killers, such
as aspirin or ibuprofen, regularly, consult a health professional in case these
could be the cause of the indigestion.
Rarely, more serious medical problems may cause indigestion – particularly if you
are aged 55 or over. Seek medical advice if your symptoms do not respond to
treatment or you notice any of the following:
Pain and other chest/stomach symptoms You suffer from severe, persistent
(longer than three weeks), worsening and unexplained pain in your upper
abdomen – particularly if occurring together with other symptoms, such as pain
in your chest, breathlessness, sweating, feeling sick or vomiting.
Vomiting blood You vomit blood or dark lumps (like ‘coffee grounds’).
Dark stools Your stool colour has become very dark (looking like tar). But
remember that if you take iron tablets your stool can also become black – a
harmless side effect which will go when you stop taking iron.
Feeling faint You feel faint, or you’ve collapsed.
Swallowing problems You develop difficulties with swallowing.
Other problems You suffer from unexplained fever, night sweats, weight loss for
no apparent reason, or you notice a swelling or mass in your upper abdomen.
NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/indigestion/Pages/Introduction.aspx) has
more information on how you can treat and prevent indigestion. Remember that
your pharmacist can also help you with assessing your symptoms.
SELF CARE FORUM FACT SHEET NO. 5 (version 1.0.1)
This fact sheet helps you to know what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect to happen if
your stools – or, less formally, poo – are too hard and/or difficult to pass (known as
constipation). It also tells you when you should become concerned and seek advice from a
What is constipation? Constipation is when your stools become hard and you
find it more difficult than usual, or even painful, to pass them when going to the
toilet. You may also have a feeling of being unable to completely empty your
bowel. Opening your bowels may be more difficult because your stools are hard,
lumpy and dry, or because they are abnormally small or large.
Other symptoms Constipation may be accompanied by feeling bloated or sick,
losing your appetite, and aches or cramps in your abdomen.
How common is it? You’re not alone – constipation is very common (particularly
in women and older people) and affects an estimated one to two out of 10
people at any one time.
Common causes These include not eating enough fibre (contained in cereals,
vegetables and fruit), changing your eating habits, ignoring the urge to go to the
toilet, not drinking enough fluids, not getting enough exercise – and, perhaps
surprisingly, also mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Certain
medications, such as opiates, diuretics and antidepressants may also cause you
to become constipated.
Normal stool frequency We’re all different when it comes to bowel habits –
some of us pass stools only every three or four days, whereas others may go
more than once a day.
Constipation is usually harmless Being constipated once in a while is common
and usually completely harmless.
Duration In most cases, constipation is short-lived and settles within a few days
– or 2 to 4 weeks at the most.
Investigations There is usually no need for any investigations or procedures,
because the diagnosis can often be made based on the symptoms alone.
Healthy diet Increasing your daily fibre intake by eating a higher proportion of
fruit, vegetables, seeds, pulses and cereals, or by taking soluble fibre in the form
of oats, can help to alleviate symptoms and prevent symptoms from recurring.
These food stuffs that make your stools softer and bulkier, and thereby easier to
Hydration Avoid dehydration and drink plenty of water.
Exercise Try to exercise more, which helps your bowels digest food.
Listen to your body Respond to your bowel’s natural pattern and do not delay
going to the toilet when you feel the urge to go.
Pain relief Simple pain killers such as paracetamol can help to relieve pain
Medicines to ease constipation Many preparations are available over the
counter to help you open your bowels. These include bulk-forming preparations,
stool softeners, bowel stimulants and suppositories (bullet-shaped dissolvable
preparations that you can insert into the opening of your back passage). Speak to
your pharmacist for advice if you’re not sure which medicine is best for you, or
check out http://www.medicinechestonline.com.
In rare cases, more serious underlying causes can make you constipated. See your
GP if you notice any of the following:
Duration You’ve been constipated or have a persistent feeling of not being able
to empty your bowel completely that doesn’t go away within six weeks.
Other symptoms Your tummy becomes increasingly swollen, and/or you start
vomiting, which could suggest that your bowels are blocked.
Age You’re over 50 and have never suffered from constipation before.
Medication You think that a medication makes you constipated.
Blood in your stools You notice blood in your stools, particularly if you don’t
have any pain or discomfort around the opening of your back passage.
‘General’ symptoms You’ve been losing weight for no apparent reason; you also
feel tired all the time, ‘not quite right’, sweaty or feverish; or you find that these
symptoms don’t go away within four to six weeks.
NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Constipation/Pages/Introduction.aspx) and
the Choose Well website (www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care) provide
further useful information about constipation. Remember that your pharmacist can
also help you with assessing your symptoms.
SELF CARE FORUM FACT SHEET NO. 6 (version 1.0.1.)
develop an occasional headache. It also tells you when you should become concerned and
seek advice from a health professional.
Common types of headache The most common headache is tension-type
headache – the one we think of as ‘ordinary’ or ‘everyday’ headache. Tension
headache tends to be mild to moderately severe and affects both sides of the
head. It usually feels ‘pressing’ or ‘tightening’ and is not affected by routine daily
activities. Migraine is a moderate or severe throbbing headache affecting one or
both sides of the head and made worse by ordinary daily activities.
Less common causes of headache These include cluster headache (a severe or
very severe pain around and above the eye), headache from overusing pain
killers (affecting about one to two out of 100 people), inflamed blood vessels,
and raised pressure inside the head (for example from a bleed or tumour).
Headaches are common As many as 8 out of 10 people have occasional tensiontype
headache from time to time, and 1 or 2 out of 10 people suffer migraines.
Migraine triggers Migraines can have many triggers, such as certain foods,
stress, hunger, tiredness and can get worse during menstrual changes or when
taking the combined oral contraceptive pill.
Rarely serious Although headaches can severely affect your life, they’re rarely
serious or life-threatening. Most get better by themselves, often within 24 hours.
Tests You won’t usually need further tests, such as scans or blood tests.
Headache diary Keep a headache diary and record how often you get
headaches, how long they last, and whether they are mild, moderate or severe.
This can be helpful to decide whether your headaches follow a particular pattern
and shows how they respond to treatment, which is useful when you need to
discuss them with a health professional. A useful online version for monitoring
migraine headache is available at http://www.migraineclinic.org.uk/wpcontent/
Lifestyle Try to get plenty of rest and sleep, and use every opportunity to relax.
Diet and fluids Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluid (ideally water) a day. Avoid
alcohol and take regular meals.
Pain killers Various pain killers are available without prescription from your
pharmacist. Choosing a preparation often comes down to personal preferences
and needs to take into account other medical conditions that you may have,
other medicines that you may be taking, and the risk of potential side effects.
Special migraine medications are available for treating migraine attacks. Avoid
taking painkillers for headaches for more than 10 to 15 days per month.
Other treatments Acupuncture can help with migraine and tension type
headache. Riboflavin (available as a food supplement from health food shops)
may help reduce migraine frequency and intensity in some people. Manual
therapy may help if you also suffer from neck aches.
Seek medical advice if over the counter treatments don’t relieve your symptoms, or
if you find it difficult to get on with your daily activities or go to work. Also speak to a
health professional if you notice any of the following:
Frequency Your headaches become more and more frequent.
Additional symptoms You vomit for no apparent reason or have a high fever.
You develop a stiff neck or feel drowsy.
After head injury You suffer from persisting headaches after a blow or other
injury to your head (though a mild headache for one to two days after a head
injury is common and usually harmless).
Sleep Your headache prevents you from getting to sleep or wakes you.
Certain situations Your headache is worse on coughing, straining, bending, lying
flat or laughing.
Speech and personality You notice a change in speech or personality.
Odd sensations You develop weakness, numbness or other odd sensations
anywhere on your body, or you feel unsteady on your feet.
Severity You develop a sudden severe headache, like ‘being hit with a hammer’.
Eyes Your eyes feel really uncomfortable when looking at bright light, or you
suffer other new eye symptoms, such as sudden blind spots.
Others symptoms You have muscle pains, pain on chewing, a tender scalp, or
NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/headache/Pages/Introduction.aspx) and the
Pain Toolkit (www.paintoolkit.org) have more information on how you can treat and
prevent headache. Your pharmacist can also help you with assessing your symptoms.
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