Looking After Yourself

The feedback we have received about our Useful Tips column was very positive so we are repeating some of it here, together with some further, hopefully useful, information

Mental Health

The Orchard Surgery is supporting World Mental Health Day 10th October and the NHS #IAMWHOLE campaign to help fight stigma around mental health. Post your picture on Facebook and Twitter if you are so inclined, and join our 'circle' #WMHD16 There is also a bespoke website for the campaign by young people for young people which is an online directory of mental health services and provisions - its called www.findgetgive.com.

Here is a link to a video explaining what it's all about featuring Jordan Stephens of hip hop duo 'Rizzle Kicks' as well as young people who have had mental health problems:

Chest pain

If you experience a sudden chest pain, localised or radiating to the jaw(s) or arm(s), with or without a shortness of breath, call 999 urgently. Early hospital treatment makes a big difference to the outcome. Don't waste time phoning the surgery

Coughs, Colds and 'Flu

Some of you will be aware of the campaign on TV, radio and in newspapers regarding the use of antibiotics to treat coughs, colds and 'flu. Coughs, colds and 'flu are caused by a virus and the illness has to take its course. Young children can normally get up to 8 colds a year, while older children and adults average 2 to 4 attacks per year. Because they are mostly caused by a virus, research has shown that antibiotics do not work in these conditions. They are only necessary if complications set in.


Rest as much as possible. Drink plenty of fluids – water is the best but avoid milk as it seems to thicken secretions during respiratory infections.

Menthol inhalation helps clear nasal passages. Take honey and lemon to ease your cough (not if you are diabetic). Paracetamol, 2 tablets 3 times daily for an adult and Calpol or Paracetamol Liquid for children, help a great deal to relieve symptoms such as aches, pains and high temperature. In the first couple of days, take these regularly in order to keep symptoms under control.

Avoid overheated rooms. Good ventilation helps you to breathe more easily. It is advisable to wear several layers of clothing rather than sit in a very warm and stuffy room.

Contact the surgery to see the doctor if, after a few days, your condition worsens, e.g.

  • Temperature continues to rise over 102 degrees F.
  • A fever continues lasting several days
  • Increased pain in throat and appearance of white or yellow spots on tonsils
  • A cough which produces thick yellow or green phlegm
  • Earache
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain of more than mild severity

Diarrhoea and vomiting

Frequent vomiting, often with griping pains (colic) and diarrhoea can be very unpleasant but, fortunately, usually only lasts for a short period.

What to do:
Vomiting (Adults and Children) – Stop all foods. Have only frequent sips of water and rest. This can last up to 24 hours and it should gradually ease. Once all vomiting has stopped and the person feels better, gradually return to a normal diet starting with only a light diet e.g. toast or clear soup.

Diarrhoea (Adults & Children) – Stop all foods. Give only clear fluids freely e.g. water. Dioralyte given freely after each loose motion helps replace lost water and body salts, which aids a speedy recovery (Dioralyte is available from chemists without a prescription).

Once diarrhoea stops, gradually return to a normal diet. If there is no improvement after 24 hours, try Imodium (no prescription needed).

Babies: Stop bottle feeds. Give Dioralyte mixed with boiled and cooled water when feeds are due, and give cooled boiled water freely. As soon as diarrhoea stops, gradually return to a normal regime.

Consult the doctor if:

  • The condition worsens
  • Pain (colic) gets worse or becomes constant
  • Diarrhoea & vomiting do not show signs of improvement after 24 hours
  • The problem is very severe

Head lice

Head lice continue to be a problem amongst school children and their families, with some children being more prone to this than others. The reasons are unknown. Contrary to popular belief, lice on a child's scalp have nothing to do with cleanliness and even the cleanest hair can harbour these creatures.

Pesticide treatments do not always work and certainly don't if used too often. We have leaflets explaining a very effective preventative method using hair conditioner, but this must be done properly to be effective. Speak to the practice nurse for the best treatment advice.

Ear wax

Syringing is not always the answer. Try to put 'sodium bi carbonate' drops in the affected ear two or three times daily for about a week or ten days. This is a harmless and effective treatment and can be obtained without a prescription from your chemist.

Information leaflets

We have information leaflets on various topics in the surgery which you can take away including, how to cope with:

  • Flu
  • Coughs and Colds
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

And many more, so ask for a copy when you attend the surgery.

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website