Self help

The Family Medicine Chest

You can also help yourself by always being prepared to any accident or emergency around the home. A basic kit would contain paracetemol mixture for young children, soluble aspirin tablets (adults only), cough linctus, vapour rub, sticking plasters, antiseptic solution and cream, calamine lotion, 3 inch crepe bandage, cotton wool, thermometer and tweezers. Calpol (paracetamol) and neurofen (ibuprofen) are also other important items to have as long as there have been no problems taking these medications in the past.

Dental Problems

There are numerous dental surgeries in the borough that are accepting new patients for NHS dental care.  The nearest dentist in the SW20 postcode is the Family Dental Health centre, 530 Kingston Road, Raynes Park SW20 8DT. Please telephone 020 8544 9330 for further details.

Self treatment of self limiting illnesses:

Colds – There is no cure for the common cold, which lasts for seven to ten days. Take plenty of drinks, use paracetamol for headaches and temperatures and inhale over hot water (do not use boiling water) to relieve nasal congestion. Antibiotics do not have any effect on the common cold.

Sore Throats – Most sore throats are caused by viruses which do not respond to antibiotics. They usually last four to five days and respond to the same treatment as for colds.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea – Again, most cases are due to a viral infection and do not require antibiotics. Treat with frequent small amounts of liquid, avoid milk and food for 24 hours. As the stomach settles, take simple solids such as dry biscuits or toast before returning to a normal diet.

Consult your doctor if: vomiting and/or diarrhoea is accompanied by continuous stomach pains; symptoms persist longer than six hours in an infant or smallchild; an attack comes shortly after a visit abroad; the patient or parent is anxious or worried.

How to look after a child with a temperature – Most childhood infections are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotics. The main aim of treatment is to try to bring down your child’s temerature and make them feel better.

  1. Give your child paracetamol (Calpol, Disprol etc) at the maximum dose for that age. Children under the age of 16 years should NOT be given aspirin.
  2. Dress your child in cool clothes eg vests, shorts and keep the room cool.
  3. Give plenty of cool drinks, as fluid is lost with a fever, and encourage small amounts frequently. Try ice lollies etc.
  4. Sponge your child down with lukewarm water and dry them carefully.
  5. Repeat the dose of paracetamol every four hours.
  6. If your child does not improve or appears particularly ill, consult the doctor.
  7. Ill children will always be seen as soon as possible if brought to the surgery. You will not make your child worse by taking them in a pram or car to see the doctor. Often the fresh air makes feverish children feel better.

Back Pain – Back pain is very common and seldom due to anything more than strained muscles or ligaments. X-rays are not usually helpful.

Long term back pain is often related to poor posture, be this at a desk, whilst driving or in bed. Exercise programmes, for example from a physiotherapist, may be of benefit.

Sudden back pain is usually caused by bending or lifting awkwardly – the weight involved need not be great and is in fact often something quite trivial.

If a nerve root is pinched by the muscle spasm, pain may appear to travel down the leg.

The mainstay of treatment is adequate pain relief. Aspirin, paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs are all available over the counter and are all that is required for the majority of back pain. They should be taken at regular intervals for several days. If the pain does not ease after a week consult your doctor.