Manage Common Conditions

Lots of common conditions can be dealt with at home.

When Should I Worry Booklet


Baby Colic

Colic is a condition where there are repeated bouts of excessive crying in a baby who is otherwise healthy and thriving. The definition doctors use is: a baby crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for at least three weeks. Colic is common and distressing. However, it usually goes away by the age of 3-4 months. It is natural to try and soothe a crying baby. Holding a baby through the crying episode may help.


Back Pain

In most cases the exact cause of the pain is not clear. The usual advice is to keep active, and do normal activities as much as possible. Painkillers like Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can help until the pain eases. In most cases, the pain clears within a week or so but may recur from time to time. Chronic (persistent) pain develops in some cases, and further treatment may then be needed.


Burns and Scalds

Any burn or scald needs immediate action. For minor burns or scalds, remove any jewellery or clothing that may become a problem if swelling occurs. Cool the affected area with cool running water for at least 20 minutes then cover with a light non-fluffy dressing.



Chickenpox causes a rash and can make a child feel generally unwell. Treatment aims to ease symptoms until the illness goes. Give plenty of oral fluids to avoid dehydration. Give paracetamol to ease fever, headaches, aches and pains. Calamine lotion put on the spots may ease itching. Full recovery is usual in children.



Unfortunately there is no cure for the common cold. The cold will run its course. Usually, symptoms peak after 2-3 days and then ease off over a few days. A cough sometimes lingers for up to three weeks. Treatment aims to ease symptoms. The main treatment is to take paracetamol or ibuprofen which can ease fever, aches and pains.


Constipation in Adults

It means either going to the toilet less often than usual to empty the bowels, or passing hard or painful stools. Constipation may be caused by not eating enough fibre, or not drinking enough fluids, hence taking more fibre in the diet and drinking more fluids usually helps.


Coughs and Colds in Children

Coughs and colds are usually caused by a virus infection. They normally clear away on their own, and antibiotics are usually of no use. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may ease some of the symptoms. Make sure the child has enough to drink.


Delaying Period in Women

Some women find it inconvenient to have a period whilst on holiday and would like to delay any bleeding until they come home. We used to prescribe a drug called Norethisterone to stop periods as it was only a few people each year with difficult periods who asked for it. Over the years the number of requests for this has increased. We now receive requests for girls under 16 and from people whose periods are light. Each request needs a medical assessment and it's time consuming. We have made the decision not to continue to offer this service as it is not treating illness and is more to do with life style. However,  we don't want our patients to miss out. There is an excellent and safe way you can request these tablets from you local pharmacy. We recommend Doctor Fox Website but it is also available at Lloyds, Boots etc. It's fast, efficient and costs only marginally more than NHS prescription charge.


Diarrhoea in Adults

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the gut. It causes diarrhoea, and may also cause vomiting, abdominal (tummy) pain and other symptoms. In most cases the infection clears over several days, but sometimes takes longer. The main treatment is to have lots to drink to try to avoid dehydration. You should also eat as normally as possible. See a doctor if you suspect that you are dehydrating, or if you have any worrying symptoms.


Diarrhoea in Children

The main treatment is to give your child lots to drink. This may mean giving special rehydration drinks. Also, once any dehydration is treated with drinks, encourage your child to eat as normally as possible. See a doctor if you suspect that your child is dehydrating, or if they have any worrying symptoms.


Ear Infection

Ear infection is common in children, but can occur at any age. The main symptoms are earache and feeling unwell. Painkillers like paracetamol is the main treatment. Antibiotics are not usually needed but are prescribed in some cases. The infection usually clears within a few days.


Fever (High Temperature) in Children

Most fevers (high temperatures) in children are usually not serious and are due to the common infections of childhood such as coughs, colds and other viral infections. If your child has a fever then try to make your child comfortable and by giving them some paracetamol or ibuprofen. Also give them lots to drink. Seek medical help if you are concerned.



These creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. They do not survive once removed from the root of the hair. They can usually be cleared with treatment. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from a pharmacy without prescription.


Ice and Heat Treatment for Injuries

With any sprain, strain or bruise there is some bleeding into the underlying tissues. This may cause swelling, pain and delay healing. Ice treatment may be used in both the immediate treatment of soft tissue injuries and in later rehabilitation.


Infective Conjunctivitis

Infective conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva (the front skin of the eye). One or both eyes become red or pink, they may be sticky or watery and may have surface irritation. Most cases clear in a few days without any treatment. The tears contain chemicals that fight off bacteria. Bathing the eyes with cool clean water may be soothing.


Insect Bites and Stings

First, remove bee stings with tweezers by gripping the base of the sting nearest the skin to avoid squeezing the poison sac and apply a cold compress. If stung in the mouth, suck on an ice cube or sip cold water and seek immediate medical attention. Always seek medical attention if someone has an allergy to bites and stings, the sting cannot be removed, the area around the sting becomes inflamed or someone experiences shortness of breath or fever.


Insomnia (Poor Sleep)

Simple things like winding down before bedtime, avoiding certain foods and drinks, and a bedtime routine can help. Further ways to promote sleep in more difficult cases include relaxation techniques and regular exercise. Sleeping tablets are not the best way to help with sleep problems because you can get addicted to them, and they often stop working if you take them regularly.


Minor Cuts and Grazes

Press on the wound to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound no matter how small it is. Cleaning will reduce the chance of infection. Just use ordinary tap water. (There is concern that antiseptics may damage skin tissue and delay healing.) After cleaning, cover the wound with a sterile, non-sticky dressing. Get medical attention if the bleeding is heavy or does not stop soon.


Nose Bleeds

Nosebleeds (epistaxis) are common in children. They are usually mild and easily treated. Sometimes bleeding can be more severe, but this is usually in older people, or in people with other medical problems such as blood disorders. Sit in a chair (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes for bleeding to stop. Get medical help quickly if the bleeding is severe, or if it does not stop within 20-30 minutes.


Oral Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing helps to keep the teeth and gums healthy, and helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Other things that may help include: mouthwashes, tongue cleaning, eating a healthy diet which includes limiting sugary drinks and foods. If you smoke, stopping smoking will improve oral hygiene. Have a dental check up at least once a year.



Set a date for stopping, and stop completely. Some people prefer the idea of cutting down gradually. However, research has shown that if you smoke less cigarettes than usual, you are likely to smoke more of each cigarette, and nicotine levels remain nearly the same. Therefore, it is usually best to stop once and for all from a set date.


Sore Throat

A sore throat usually goes after a few days. Antibiotics are not usually required. Paracetamol or ibuprofen ease pain, headache, and fever. Other gargles, lozenges, and sprays that you can buy at pharmacies may help to soothe a sore throat. However, they do not shorten the illness. Usually, you would only need to see a doctor if symptoms are severe, unusual, or if they do not ease within 3-4 days.


Sprains and Strains

First apply an ice compress for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce any swelling. If the limb is not rested, further pain and swelling will occur and recovery will take longer. Most sprains and strains heal within a few weeks.



Care should be taken at all times to avoid over exposure to the sun particularly with children. Treat sunburn as other burns applying cool water. Calamine lotion (dabbed not rubbed) will relieve the irritation whilst paracetamol will help ease pain.


Vertigo (Dizziness)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) causes short episodes of vertigo (intense dizziness) when you move your head in certain directions.

In many cases the condition clears away on its own after several weeks.

Epley's Manoeuvre - a simple treatment of moving the head into various positions can cure the condition in many cases.


Warts and Verrucas

There is no need to treat warts if they are not causing you any problems. Without treatment, about 3 in 10 warts have gone within 10 weeks, and most warts will have gone within 1-2 years, and leave no scar.


Weight Reduction

Top tip: In order to lose weight, your energy in needs to be less than your energy used up. In short, you need to eat less and move more. Regarding a healthy diet, low-fat foods are generally best. But remember, some low-fat foods and drinks such as alcohol, sugary drinks, and sweets, are still high in calories.


Whiplash Neck Sprain

A whiplash neck sprain is common after a car crash. Symptoms usually ease and go without any specific treatment. It is best to keep the neck active and moving. If required, painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can ease pain.