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Many everyday illnesses and injuries such as minor burns, flu, diarrhoea and vomiting, cuts and grazes, sprains and minor infections can be best treated at home.
Make sure you are equipped to look after friends or family with a few important supplies. You may also want to keep a supply of over-the counter medicines for coughs, colds and minor illnesses, but keep them in a safe place and well out of the reach of children.
It may also be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit.
Medicines should be checked regularly to make sure that they are within their use-by dates.
Here’s a shopping list for a basic first aid kit:
- eyewash solution
- sterile dressings
- medical tape
Fevers are quite common in young children and are usually mild. To help reduce a fever, encourage your child to drink clear fluids. If your child is hot, it may help to remove some but not all of their clothing. Do not wrap them up in extra clothing or blankets. Child-friendly paracetamol or ibuprofen may be useful if your child is unwell or has a fever but ask your pharmacist for advice.
Trust your instinct as a parent, and contact your general practitioner (GP) if the problem persists or if you think your child may have a serious illness.
Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible
Hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can
Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate and easily obtained from your local pharmacy. Always use under the armpit for children under the age of five. Hold your child’s arm against his or her body and leave the thermometer in place for the time stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, every day. If you are worried about your health you can call 111 and get advice from fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics.
When you call 111, they will ask you to provide some basic information, including details of any medication you may have taken. NHS 111 will assess the problem and advise you on the best course of action.
Find out more from NHS Choices: www.nhs.uk/111
Did you know that you can get advice on minor ailments from your local community pharmacy or chemist?
Pharmacists are experts in medicines but they are also a great source of help and advice for things like managing long-term conditions or for ailments such as a bad cough, wheezing, a cold or sore throat.
Many pharmacies have longer opening hours than the average GP practice; you can walk into any pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist.
They’ll also tell you if they think you should see a doctor. Earlier really is better. By getting help as soon as possible you may be able to avoid an unnecessary stay in hospital, particularly for the elderly and those with long-term conditions.
When to go
Minor ailments they can advise on include:
- bugs and viruses
- minor injuries
- tummy troubles
- skin conditions
- aches and pains
Services available from local pharmacies include:
- emergency contraception
- incontinence supplies
- pregnancy testing
- stop smoking services
Your local pharmacist can also help you be prepared for when minor illnesses or accidents strike by advising you on what to have in your home medicine cabinet, including basics such as painkillers, a thermometer, plasters and dressings, and antiseptic.
Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard by other members of the public.
Find your nearest pharmacist
Go to www.nhs.uk and search under ‘Pharmacy’. You can then enter your postcode for a list of your nearest pharmacies.
Minor Injuries Unit
If you have a minor injury including deep cuts, sprains or minor burns, you can visit your local Walk-in Centre or minor injuries unit. You do not need an appointment to attend. Your local minor injury units are:
- St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre, Milton Road, Portsmouth PO3 6DW
- Gosport War Memorial Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Bury Road, Gosport PO12 3PW
- Petersfield Community Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Swan Street, Petersfield, GU32 3LB
- Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, 27 Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2RY
Emergency Departments should only be used in a critical or life threatening situation. They provide emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured.
If you suspect an injury is serious go straight to the Emergency Department or dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.