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Self Treatment

Self Treatment of Common Illnesses and Accidents

Many common aches and pains can be simply treated by you at home.

Asthma Review

Asthma Review form for patient to complete

Back Pain

Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine supports the whole weight of the upper body so it is understandable that it sometimes goes wrong. Because of the complex nature of the spine, it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain persists for more that a few days or if you get shooting pains down the leg. If, as is usual, the pain has been caused by abuse ie lifting too heavy weights etc, be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit as upright as possible with a support for the small of the back. Take aspirin, Neurofen or Paracetamol which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve inflammation. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, heat treatment or gentle exercise.

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! Repeat every two hours. If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose dry dressing. If the burn is larger that four or five inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor or practice nurse as soon as possible.

Chickenpox

On the first day, a rash appears as small red patches about 3-4mm across. Within a few hours of these developing, small blisters appear in the centre of these patches. During the next three or four days, further patches will appear in crops and the earlier ones will turn 'crusty' and fall off. Antihistamines may soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from two to 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.

Colds

Even in this day and age, there is still no cure for the common cold. Rest, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish, take Aspirin or Paracetamol. Do not take antibiotics as these will have no effect! If after 4 days you are getting worse then call the surgery.

Diarrhoea

In ADULTS, diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus infection and therefore cannot be treated directly. The symptoms can usually be eased by fluids only and occasionally anti-diarrhoeal medication. Holiday diarrhoea may be due to a bacteria. Consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.

Diarrhoea in VERY YOUNG CHILDREN AND BABIES needs careful attention. Most babies have loose bowel action during their first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding a cooled solution of boiled water (with a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to the pint). If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult your doctor.

Flu Vaccination

An influenza vaccination is particularly recommended for patients with heart, lung and kidney disease, diabetes and residents of nursing and rest homes and patients over 65 years of age. Please contact the reception staff in September for details of the vaccination dates and to make an appointment. If you are unable to attend the surgery, a home visit will be arranged to undertake this facility.

Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomachache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed medicines are often immediately vomited up. Large quantities of water, orange juice or thin soup should be taken to counter the effects of dehydration. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a day or, in the case of babies or young children, six hours.

Head Lice

These creatures, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Wash the hair with conditioner and use a nit comb every three days for 2 weeks. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from the chemist without a prescription.

Insect Bites and Stings

Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms. Note: Bee stings should be scraped away rather than «plucked¡ in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.

Minor Cuts and Grazes

Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap to remove grit and clean wound. To stop bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about five minutes. Cover with a clean dry dressing. Change daily. Expose to air until dry.

Nosebleeds

Sit in a chair, lean forward with your mouth open over a bowl, and pinch the soft part of your nose just below the bone for at least ten minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot foods for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Physiotherapy

NEW - SELF-REFERRAL FOR PHYSIOTHERAPY
Patients can access this online at the Dorset healthcare website by searching for ‘outpatient physiotherapy’-
https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/our-services-hospitals/physical-health/outpatient-physiotherapy-service (or see our front page for the link to the form)
The self-referral form can either be brought in to physiotherapy and left with reception or patients can email the form over.
All referrals will be prioritised in the usual manner, by a senior physiotherapist.

NHS Dorset HealthCare University

Physiotherapists have skill in the assessment and treatment of injuries and conditions that affect muscles, joints and soft tissues such as low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, recent injuries or joint and muscular pain.

If you are suffering with a similar condition, and would like to see a physiotherapist for an assessment please complete a self-referral form. This can be found at the below link, your GP practice or hospital reception.

www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/our-services-hospitals/physical-health/outpatient-physiotherapy-service

Please note this service is only available at some of our community hospitals, for patients registered at selected GP practices in Dorset.

If you have any concerns you can always be referred to physiotherapy in the usual way with a letter from your GP, Consultant or Nurse.

What will happen next?

A physiotherapist will look at your form to decide how soon we will need to see you. We have urgent, soon and routine appointments. Your appointment may be 30-45 minutes, however you may be offered a shorter appointment in our ‘Rapid Assessment Clinic’ in order to commence your assessment and treatment plan as soon as possible.  We will contact you as soon as we can to arrange an appointment.

What can I do to help myself in the meantime?

Research has shown that resting for more than a day or so does not help with problems such as back pain and may actually prolong pain and disability.  You may need to modify your activities initially, but the sooner you get back to normal activity the sooner you will feel better.

Initially moving stiff joints and muscles can be painful, but this is a normal response and not a sign of damage.  Feeling a bit sore initially is also normal and often a good sign that you are making progress. Gentle movements of the joints/muscles will help to prevent continued pain and stiffness.

Changing your position or activity frequently throughout the day will help to prevent and reduce stiffness. Try to build up your general activity gradually.

Hot or Cold?

If you have a recent injury (less than 72 hours) you may benefit from a pack of frozen peas or ice wrapped in a damp towel for 10 – 20 minutes.  This may help to reduce any heat/swelling.

If you have an old injury or recurring problem you may find that holding a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on the affected area for 10 – 20 minutes reduces pain.  Movement of the affected area will aid in preventing stiffness and pain.

NB:  Be aware that hot and cold can BURN and that you need to check (every 5 minutes) that your skin does not become very red or blotchy.  If this happens STOP immediately.

Painkillers

‘Over the counter’ painkillers can be helpful.  A pharmacist will be able to advise you on the appropriate tablets.  If your symptoms worsen you may wish to see your GP.

Further Information

The following websites contain some information you may find useful to help your recovery

Some useful exercises for a variety of conditions

https://www.csp.org.uk/tags/patient-information-leaflets

https://www.nhsinform.scot/symptoms-and-self-help

https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/managing-symptoms/exercise/

Some tips and guidance on Physical activity with ‘Fitness Studio’ videos/tutorials

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

Advice to support your recovery with advice on health and wellbeing

https://www.livewelldorset.co.uk/

Some useful information if you have longstanding pain

https://www.paintoolkit.org/

Sickness Certificates

You do not require a doctor's sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less. Your employer may however require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer or on the HMRC website.

Evidence that you are sick

If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of SSP (statutory sick pay).

Your employer can ask you to confirm that you've been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.

If you're sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will probably ask for proof of your illness. Most employers ask for a fit note from your GP.

However, this will also depend on your employer's company policy on sick leave (or sickness absence). This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need to provide proof of illness or a fit note.

You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.

Statement of Fitness for Work - ’Fit Note'

The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. With your employer's support, the note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.

For more information see the DirectGov website (where this information was sourced

Sprains

Treat with a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 minutes to reduce the swelling 4 times a day for 24 hours. Then apply, firmly, a crepe bandage and give the sprain plenty of rest until all discomfort has subsided. Further strain will inevitably lead to further swelling and a longer recovery period. Keep joint elevated when possible.

Stomachache

Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion or wind. A hot water bottle will often relieve the symptoms and, in the case of indigestion, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of water will help. If the pain lasts for longer than eight hours or increases in intensity you should consult your doctor.

Sunburn

Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Antihistamine tablets from the chemist will relieve the irritation whilst Paracetamol will also help the pain. Drink plenty of fluids. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure to the harmful effects of the sun.

Travel Immunisations/Vaccinations

Please make an appointment at least eight weeks in advance of your holiday to ensure adequate cover. A charge will be made for certain immunisations and vaccinations which are not covered by the NHS. A list of these charges is held at reception.

Yellow Fever Vaccinations

Apples Medical Centre is an authorised Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre. You can arrange immunisation with the nurse, but not at the last minute.

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