Self Help

NHS Choices

A Healthy Diet
Steps to a healthier diet: Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut down on your fat intake by eating lean meats and using low fat spreads or cooking oils. Choose wholemeal bread instead of white. Try nuts and dried fruit instead of sweets and chocolate. Drink at least two pints of water a day. Cut down on your salt intake and try not to overcook vegetables as it causes a massive loss of minerals and vitamins.

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Alcohol
In small quantities alcohol can be beneficial to health but you should be aware of the safe limits per week. Men can have up to 28 units and women are allowed up to 21 units per week spread over the course of that time. When you are consuming alcohol try to drink plenty of water to help your body deal with the effects of alcohol consumption

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Back Pain
Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine supports the whole weight of the body so it is understandable that it sometimes goes wrong. Because of the complex nature of the spine it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain exists for more than a few days. If as is usual the pain has been caused by abuse i.e. lifting heavy weights etc, be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit as upright as possible with support for the small of the back. Take aspirin or paracetamol, which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve the inflammation. Your Doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, heat treatment, gentle exercise or some sort of supportive corset.

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Bedsores
Bedsores are far easier to prevent than cure. They are caused by prolonged pressure to certain parts of the body when lying in bed for long periods. They can be prevented by encouraging the patient to shift position as often as possible. Take care to smooth out creases in the bottom sheet to avoid irritation. If red marks appear at pressure points such as the heels, elbows, buttocks and hips, inform the doctor before they get worse.

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Chickenpox
Rash appears as small red patches with small blisters in the centre. During the next 3 or 4 days, further patches will appear and the earlier ones will turn crusty and fall off. The rash is itchy and fever may occur. Calamine lotion and paracetamol give relief.

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Child with a high temperature
Remove all clothing and cool the skin by sponging tepid water. Give small amounts of water or diluted juice to drink often. Give calpol, paracetamol or disol syrup. If a temperature remains high consult your doctor.

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Cold and flu like symptoms
Even in this day and age there is no magic cure for the common cold. Go to bed. Take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish, take aspirin or paracetemol. Antibiotics do not have any effect

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Diarrhoea or Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomachache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed, food and medicines are often vomited up. These should therefore be avoided. Instead, sip large quantities of water, cordials or squashes but not milk. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than 48 hours. In the case of young children or babies use oral rehydration fluids which are available from the chemist (such as Rehydrate or Dioralyte) and consult the doctor if the symptoms last for more than a day or are particularly severe

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German Measles (Rubella)
The rash appears during the first day and usually covers the body arms and legs in pink patches, 2-4mm. It is infectious from 2 days before the rash appears and up to about 7 days afterwards. It can be harmful to the unborn child, therefore it is important to inform all contacts in order that anyone who may be pregnant can contact their Doctor. All children should be immunised by the MMR vaccine at about 18 months.

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Headlice
These creatures prefer clean hair and are, therefore not a sign of poor hygiene. Medicated head lotions are available from the chemist.

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

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Measles
This usually causes high temperature, cough and sore eyes before the rash appears until about 10 days after that date. The rash is blotchy and red and appears on the face and body. It is contagious from 2 or 3 days before the rash appears until about ten days after that date. MMR can prevent this

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Minor Cuts and Grazes
Wash the wound thoroughly with a little soap.
To stop bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about 5 minutes.
Cover with a clean dry dressing

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Mumps
Painful swelling of the gland in front of one or both ears occurs. The patient is infectious from 2 or 3days before swelling appears until about 8 to 10 days after that date

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Nose Bleeds
Sit in a chair (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. If symptoms persist please consult your A & E Department

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Smoking
Every cigarette you smoke can shorten your life by an average of five and a half minutes. Giving up smoking is all about motivation. Set a date in the future when you are going to stop and tell all your friends so that they can support you in your decision. When the big day comes plan carefully to keep yourself busy and try to avoid situations, which may tempt you into having a cigarette. You could put aside the money that you would spend and save up to treat yourself. If you have tried everything and still want to give up contact your doctor for extra help

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Sunburn
Treat as with other burns with cold water to remove heat. Calamine lotion will relieve the irritation whilst Paracetemol will also help.
Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure to the harmful effects of the sun

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