Common Problems & Illnesses

The below is intended to provide general information and guidance regarding certain illnesses.

PROSTRATE CANCER AND PSA TESTING

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point within their lives.

Factors that increase a man’s risk include:
  • Increasing age;
  • Family history of prostate cancer;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Being of black ethnic origin

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test to help detect prostate cancer.

For more information regarding the PSA test, click here.

If you have an concerns or wish to speak to a member of the team, do not hesitate in contacting the surgery.

For some common problems, it may be possible to self-treat. To provide you with some guidance and reassurance, please find information below regarding 10 frequent problems patients may be able to deal with themselves.

Further information can always be found on the NHS website or if in doubt contact the surgery 

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CHILD WITH A TEMPERATURE

A child usually develops a fever in response to an infection. Usually the child will get over the infection without antibiotics. A few children, usually under three years old, may have a convulsion with a high temperature. It is therefore important to bring the temperature down, to make your child feel comfortable and to avoid convulsions.

If your child has a temperature or feels hot:

  1. Give paracetamol and/or ibuprofen syrup at the recommended dose.
  2. Undress your child and avoid thick covers at night.
  3. Give plenty of cool drinks as fluid is lost with a fever.
  4. Sponging with a tepid flannel will make him/her feel better and reduce the temperature.
  5. Repeat the dose of paracetamol every four hours if necessary.
  6. If your child does not improve, ask your doctor for advice.
  7. You will not make matters worse if you bring your child out to see the doctor. Sometimes the fresh air makes feverish children feel better.
  8. If your child does have a convulsion, it should subside within five minutes. Lay the child on his/her side, stay with him/her while it lasts and call an ambulance as soon as possible.
COUGHS AND COLDS

These do not usually need antibiotics in adults or children. Children with these symptoms often get swollen glands at the same time. Treatment with paracetamol and other simple remedies is usually enough. If you, or your child, are very unwell, or the symptoms last more than a few days, you should see a doctor.

CYSTITIS

Cystitis is inflammation inside the bladder. Over half the women in this country suffer from it at some time during their lives, often repeatedly. It makes you want to pass urine more frequently and when you do pass water it causes a burning sensation. When you first get the symptoms, drink a pint of water immediately. A teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in the water can relieve some of the pain. Paracetamol can also help. It is important to carry on drinking plenty of fluids to wash the germs out of your bladder. If your symptoms do not improve in a day, consult your doctor and bring a specimen of urine in a clean container: Children who have cystitis should always have an appointment to see the doctor.

DIARRHOEA

In adults and children diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics. Drink plenty of clear fluids. Consult your doctor if there is blood with the diarrhoea or 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 a mainly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding it after with oral rehydration salts (e.g. Dioralyte, Rehydrat). These can be obtained from the chemist without a prescription. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours consult your doctor.

HAYFEVER / SEASONAL RHINITIS

Hayfever and Seasonal Rhinitis are common conditions, caused by an allergic reaction to a trigger. During the spring and summer months, the most likely trigger is pollen. During autumn and winter, similar symptoms can be caused by fungal spores or house dust. Common symptoms include sneezing and coughing, runny nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, pressure or pain to the cheeks or forehead, intermittent changes to hearing or earache. If you are asthmatic, you may feel more wheezy or breathless.  Symptoms will typically last for several weeks and unlike a cold, will not be associated with raised temperatures.

Although there is no cure, your community pharmacist will usually be able to provide advice and treatment for your symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Steroid Nasal Sprays: These can help with symptoms of nasal congestion and irritation.  They will take at least 2-3 weeks to provide a benefit and usually need to be continued throughout the allergy season. We recommend using mometasone, as the safest and most effective treatment option
  • Antihistamine Tablets: These reduce your body’s response to the allergic trigger. Some types can cause drowsiness, which can impact driving. We recommend loratadine or cetirizine, which typically cause less drowsiness and are conveniently taken once per day in the morning. If these do not work, a stronger option is fexofenadine
  • Eyedrops: For symptoms particularly affecting your eyes, an anti-allergy eyedrop such as sodium cromoglicate can help
    NHS England has stated that GPs should not routinely prescribe treatment for hay fever or seasonal rhinitis. Please do not request a prescription. Treatment should be purchased from your community pharmacy.

If things do not settle or you are suffering more serious symptoms (e.g. worsening of asthma), please contact us by phone or via AskMyGP.

More information on this condition and possible treatments are available here.

HEAD LICE

Check for head lice by first washing the hair, then working through some conditioner and finally comb with a fine-toothed comb (if possible a metal nit comb). If head lice are present they will become attached to the comb. Pay particular attention to the areas above the ears, the nape of the neck and under the fringe. If lice are present, wash, condition and comb the hair every three days for two weeks, and about every five days after this. Chemical lotions and shampoos are not always effective. Combing regularly with a nit comb can reduce the chances of infection. Please tell your child’s school if you find any head lice. Also tell friends and family members your child has been in contact with.

INSECT BITES AND STINGS

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

MINOR CUTS AND GRAZES

Clean the wound under gently running cold water. Cover with a loose dry dressing to prevent infection.

PROSTRATE CANCER AND PSA TESTING

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point within their lives.

Factors that increase a man’s risk include:
  • Increasing age;
  • Family history of prostate cancer;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Being of black ethnic origin

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test to help detect prostate cancer.

For more information regarding the PSA test, click here.

If you have an concerns or wish to speak to a member of the team, do not hesitate in contacting the surgery.

SORE THROATS

Most sore throats are caused by a virus, which are not affected by antibiotics. Usually it takes 7 – 10 days to get better with simple treatment like paracetamol and plenty of fluids. Sometimes tonsillitis starts with a sore throat, which may cause a slight raised temperature. It can be associated with common colds and flu. If the sore throat is associated with earache and the temperature is above 39.5 C (102 F) you should contact your doctor.

Children under 12 years of age should not have Aspirin.

 

TICK BITES

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, however, all ticks need removing as soon as possible. Search on the NHS Choices website for advice on how to remove them safely. Once bitten by an infected tick many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten; this is known as erythema migrans. You should remove the tick and contact the surgery if a rash or other symptoms appear.

VOMITING

Often due to a virus, when it is usually followed by diarrhoea, it can be due to excess of food and drink, or a change of diet. Some children vomit when they have a high temperature, which may be caused by a sore throat or ear infection. The treatment is to eat nothing, but drink little amounts of water often. As the stomach settles take dry biscuits or toast at first. Call the doctor if there is constant stomach pain, if it lasts more than 24 hours, if a vomiting child has a temperature of more than 38 C or 100 F or if the patient or parent is worried.