Illnesses

High Temperature (Fever)
Body temperature may vary from 36 to 37.5C (97 to 99 F). A minor change within this range is, by itself, no cause for concern. Adults: Consider yourself feverish if your temperature is over 38C (100F). Try to bring down your temperature by:

1. Taking the recommended dose of paracetamol or aspirin.
2. Removing excess clothing and lying in a cool room.
3. Drinking cold, non-alcoholic fluids.
4. Sponging the body with tepid water or using a fan.

Consult the medical centre if your temperature continues to rise in spite of these measures, reaches 40C (104F) or persists for more than 48 hours. Young Babies: If you have a baby under six months of age, with a temperature above 38.5C (99F), start cooling measures and contact the medical centre immediately. The only exception to this is if your child has just had a vaccination, in which case giving paracetamol is usually sufficient. If you are unsure or the temperature does not fall, ring for advice.

Children: Try to bring the temperature down by following the advice above. If it does not fall or other symptoms develop, contact the medical centre. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16, although junior ibuprofen (Nurofen) can be used if there is no response to paracetamol (Calpol). Please use according to the instructions on the bottle. If you are asked to bring your child to surgery, please do so - it will do him or her no harm to be taken into the open air.


Colds & Flu
We still have no cure for the common cold or the flu, but it is possible to treat some of the symptoms yourself. Go to bed and take plenty of drinks (non-alcoholic). If you develop a temperature, follow the advice given earlier. If a headache develops your pharmacist will advise you. The fever may last for up to 48 hours.

Note the important advice given later, under Sore Throat’. Following the advice given above antibiotics are not prescribed for colds and flu. They do not treat viruses and can have some unpleasant side effects.


Chickenpox
On the first day a rash appears as small red patches about 3-4mm across. Within a few hours of these developing a small blister appears in the centre of these patches. During the next three or four days further patches will appear and the earlier ones crust over. Calamine cream can be obtained from your local chemist and will often soothe some of the itching. Cool baths with a table spoon full of sodium bicarbonate may help. The infectious period is from three days before the spots appear until all the spots are scabbed over. Children may return to school as soon as all the spots have scabs (maybe up to 10 days).


Diarrhoea
In adults diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral infection. The virus can’t be treated, but the symptoms can, by taking plenty of clear fluids for 24 hours. If you notice blood or mucus in the diarrhoea or it is black in colour or looks like ground coffee please contact the surgery as soon as possible. Should symptoms persist for more than a few days, consult your doctor.

Diarrhoea in babies and small children needs careful attention. Loose or soft bowel movements are the norm in young babies, but sudden bouts of watery diarrhoea should be treated by giving plenty of extra fluids, preferably cooled water. If symptoms persist or your child becomes floppy and or very sleepy, please make an appointment to see the doctor or nurse practitioner (see gastroeriteritis.)


Gastroenteritis
This describes a group of illnesses affecting the stomach and part of the intestines. Symptoms include diarrhoea, sickness and stomachache. You can start to sip an hour after you last vomit but do not try before as you will be sick again. Increase the amount you sip over the next 2 hours and if you continued not to be sick try squash, coke or lemonade. If you keep all of this down for 4 hours you can then try a bland diet avoiding anything rich, creamy or spicy. Please call back if symptoms worsen, the ill person becomes sleepy and increasingly unwell or in the case of a baby becomes floppy and or lethargic.


Sore Throat
Most sore throats are the result of bacterial or viral infection and usually clear up within a few days. Give plenty of cold drinks and the recommended dose of paracetamol.

Consult the medical centre if you or your child develops:

 Temperature over 39’C (102’F)
 Abnormally fast breathing
 Noisy or difficult breathing
 Abnormal lethargy or drowsiness
 A rash
 An earache
 White spots on the tonsils