Common Ailments & Accidents

Please remember that the Chemist can advise you on many minor medical problems and operate Pharmacy First. If you do not pay for your prescriptions you can sign up at the chemist and receive free advice and medication.

Back Pain

Back pain can usually be avoided if you look after your back. When lifting, bend the knees, keeping the back straight. It is bad for you to lift with your back bent, especially if you are twisting your body. If you develop back pain rest your back by sitting as upright as possible with firm support for the small of your back or lie down flat on a firm bed. If your bed is not firm, lie on the floor. Pain killing tablets can help to ease the pain. You can self refer to physio if needed.  

High Temperature

Children and adults can have high temperatures for many reasons. In children the usual cause is viral infections like colds. Children will be miserable and off their food. People with high temperature may also feel cold and shiver, but in fact you will feel that they are hot if you touch their forehead or back of the neck. They will be much more comfortable if they can cool down, wear light clothing (only a nappy and vest in small children) Give Paracetamol (such as Calpol or Disprol) at the recommended dosage. A feverish person needs plenty of cool drinks. See your GP if a child’s temperature lasts 5 days or they seem particularly unwell, for example – vacant, short of breath or not drinking.

Diarrhoea & Vomiting

In adults and older children – it is usually caused by viruses and will usually get better on its own. Treatment consists of replacing the fluid that you have lost and resting the stomach and bowels by avoiding solids for two to three days. You must have plenty of fluids. This can be in the form of plain water, flat cola drinks (not diet cola) or other clear fluids. If the motions consist of blood or if you have a high temperature, please seek advice. In babies and young children – these symptoms need careful attention. Most babies have sudden loose bowel action during the first six months due to a predominately liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the child off solid feeds. Give them only plain water, breast milk – if breast feeding – or rehydrating solutions like Diorylate or Rehydrat They can be obtained at the Chemist. If your child is not drinking and not passing much urine and symptoms persist, especially if accompanied by vomiting over 24 hours, always seek advice.

Colds, Sore Throats & Flu

These are usually caused by viruses. Antibiotics are of no help. Rest –in bed first Fluids – have plenty of hot or cold drinks Paracetamol – reduces temperature and helps aches and pain
Decongestant – may help symptoms. Can be obtained from the Chemist. But see your GP if short of breath.


These usually affect children and are spread very easily. Worms can be seen in the motion & can cause an itch around the anus, especially during the night-time. Treatment can be obtained from the Chemist.


These are a nuisance but are not dangerous. Often no treatment is required since the condition will go away by itself. If it is painful it can be treated. The chemist can usually help you. There is no need to avoid swimming. A new popular treatment is to keep the verruca covered with duct tape. This method is easy to find on the internet and is as effective as any prescription.


An irritating cough can be soothed by cough medicine from the Chemist. Avoid tobacco smoke. Most coughs are caused by a virus infection and get better by themselves in 2 – 3 weeks. See your GP if the cough persists over 3 weeks, you are short of breath or cough blood.


First apply a cold compress for 15 to 30 minutes. A bag of frozen peas is ideal for this. This will reduce the blood flow to the area and therefore minimise bruising and swelling. Apply a crepe bandage. Rest until discomfort settles down. If possible keep the sprained joint raised. This will make it more comfortable and less swollen. If the swelling and pain get worse it may be advisable to see your GP. 

Nose Bleeds

Sit in a chair, lean forward over a bowl with your mouth open. You should pinch the fleshy mobile part of your nose just below the bony bridge. It is useless o pinch the bridge itself. Keep your nose pinched for approximately 10 minutes. Try not to wipe or clean your nose as bleeding might start again. Recurrent nose bleeds can often be solved by applying Vaseline to the nose. If the bleeding persists contact your GP.


Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area until the pain subsides. This might take about 15 minutes. If the burn is larger than 4 to 5 inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, please seek advice straightaway from the nurse..

Insect Bites & Stings

Antihistamine tablets such as Piriton can be bought from the chemist for this. This should usually relieve the symptoms in a few days.

Head Lice

Medicated lotion can be obtained from the Chemist to treat this if necessary. Please contact your Health Visitor for advice.

Hay fever

Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.

How to treat hay fever yourself

There’s currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.

But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.

  • put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
  • stay indoors whenever possible
  • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
  • vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
  • buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities

Speak to your pharmacist if you have hay fever.

They can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with:

  • itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
  • a blocked nose

Call a pharmacy or contact them online before going in person. You can get medicines delivered or ask someone to collect them.

Treatments for hay fever from a GP

Your GP might prescribe a steroid treatment, such as a steroid nasal spray.

If steroids and other hay fever treatments do not work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.

This means you’ll be given small amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.

This kind of treatment usually starts in the winter about 3 months before the hay fever season begins.

Immunotherapy is a specialist service that may not be available everywhere.