Self care

Did you know that 10 of the most minor ailments seen by GPs can also be treated by you at home?

By treating yourself at home you could save a trip to the surgery and free up time for the GPs to see patients with more serious health problems.

Read about some of the most effective home treatments on the NHS Choices website for:

  1. Back pain
  2. Dermatitis
  3. Heartburn and indigestion
  4. Nasal congestion (blocked nose)
  5. Constipation
  6. Migraines
  7. Coughs
  8. Acne
  9. Sprains and strains
  10. Headaches

Visit the NHS Choices website

Antibiotics

Each year 25% of the population visit their GP for a respiratory tract infection (eg sinus, throat or chest infection). These are usually caused by viruses.

For patients who are otherwise healthy, antibiotics are not necessary for viral infections.

These infections will normally clear up by looking after yourself at home with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol.

Ear infections typically last 4 days

89% of cases clear up on their own

A sore throat typically lasts 7 days

40% of cases clear up after 3 days and 90% after 7 days without antibiotics

Sinusitis typically lasts 17 days

80% clear up in 14 days without antibiotics

Cough/bronchitis typically lasts 21 days

Antibiotics reduce symptoms by only 1 day

Antibiotics only work for infections caused by bacteria.

Taking unnecessary antibiotics for viral infections should be avoided because they may not be effective next time you have a bacterial infection.

Patients with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and COPD are eligible for flu and pneumococcal vaccinations. Ask at reception for more information.

Medicine cabinet

You can treat many minor ailments such as colds, coughs and indigestion by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.

We suggest you keep the following:

  • Paracetamol and aspirin (children under 16 and people with asthma should not take aspirin)
  • Mild laxatives
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medicines
  • Rehydration mixture
  • Indigestion remedy (for example, antacids)
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Sunscreen – SPF15 or higher
  • Sunburn treatment (for example, calamine)
  • Tweezers and sharp scissors
  • A thermometer
  • A selection of plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings

Remember:

  • Keep the medicine chest in a secure, locked place out of reach of small children
  • Always read the instructions and use the suggested dose
  • Watch expiry dates – don’t keep or use medicines past their sell-by date
  • Take all unwanted and out-of-date medicines back to the pharmacy

Other NHS services

As well as our practice, there are many other local NHS services you can contact for health advice, information or treatment.

You can ask your local pharmacist about lots of health issues, including when to visit your GP. And there’s no need for an appointment.

Visit our Who should I see page for more information.

Ear care advice

USING OLIVE OIL EAR DROPS

It is advisable to buy a bottle of olive oil and ‘dropper’ from your local pharmacist. A spray olive oil, EAROL, is also available and many people find this easier to use.

Almond oil can be used if you have very narrow ear canals as it has a thinner consistency.

Olive oil encourages the natural movement of wax from the outer ear

Many people find that olive oil is easily available, comfortable to use and does not need to be warmed before use. Three or four drops, two or three times a day for one to two weeks is usually sufficient, and the wax will often then come out by itself. This can be done for up to 6 weeks and syringing may then not be necessary. In any case drops should be instilled for AT LEAST 5-7 days prior to syringing.

If you often get a build-up of ear wax, using a couple of drops of olive oil once a week may help prevent the build-up. This will not stop wax collecting, but will make removal easier.

1. Lie down on your side with the affected ear upwards.

2. Gently pull the outer ear backwards and upwards. Using room temperature olive oil and the dropper drop 1-2 drops in the ear canal and gently massage the area in front of the ear

3. Remain lying down for 10 minutes and then wipe away any excess oil. DO NOT put any cotton wool in your ear canal as this will absorb the oil.

4. Repeat the procedure with the opposite ear if necessary.

Ear syringing cannot be carried out if you have had any ear surgery, recent infections or a perforation of the ear drum. It is also not advisable to carry out the procedure if you have any dizziness problems or very troublesome tinnitus.

Did you know?

Ears need wax for protection. It also destroys bacteria.

Ears aren’t fond of water; keep them dry by using either ear plugs or cotton wool covered in Vaseline when washing hair or going swimming

DO NOT USE cotton buds/hair-grips etc in your ear canal. These can damage the delicate skin of the ear canal and even perforate the eardrum.

British Tinnitis Association. Rotherham Primary Ear Care centre. NHS choices.