Friday, 1 October 2010

Fulbourn Health Centre: self-treatment of common illnesses and accidents

Many common aches and pains can be simply treated without the need to consult a doctor. Here we have some advice regarding a few simple conditions:

Back Pain

spinal columnBack pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Great Britain each year. The spine supports the whole weight of the upper 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 persists for longer than a few days. If, as usual, the pain has been caused by abuse (e.g. lifting too heavy a load), be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit as upright as possible with a support for the small of the back. Take ibuprofen or paracetamol (unless contraindicated) which will not only help the pain but will also tend to relieve the inflammation. Ice packs can also help for muscle spasm. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs and physiotherapy if symptoms do not settle.


stomach bugIn adults, this is usually caused by a viral infection and is, therefore, unable to be treated directly. The symptoms can sometimes be eased by "over-the-counter" medicines advised by your chemist. Travellers diarrhoea is sometimes due to bacteria and, again, your pharmacist can advise you. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a few days.

Most babies have very loose bowel action in their first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea is usually viral. This should be treated by taking the baby off milk and solids and feeding them a cooled solution of boiled water with a teaspoon of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt to the pint. If the symptoms persist consult your doctor.

Colds & Flu

Even in this day and age, there is no magic cure for the common cold!

coldMost adults will get at least one cold each year and children may get several. Colds usually start to improve after 5-7 days in adults but can last longer in children. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat and cough. It is caused by a virus infection and antibiotics have no effect on the course of the illness. Simple painkillers, decongestants and rest will help ease the symptoms.
Occasionally complications such as severe earache, tonsillitis or chest infection may develop. These may require treatment from your doctor.

flu virusThe term flu is over-used. It should refer to the specific infection influenza. This occurs in epidemics every few years and is a particular risk for the elderly or patients with chronic heart or lung problems. These patients should request flu vaccinations in October each year.

Talking of which, a reminder that our flu clinics are available to book now at Cornford House Surgery on the 2nd and 16th of October and at Fulbourn Health Centre on the 5th and 19th of October in the afternoons. Please check the posters in the surgeries to see if you are in an “at risk” group.
Russell Sims
Practice Manager
Fulbourn Health Centre


  1. Please note the date of the second flu clinic at Cornford House Surgery in Cherry Hinton Road is now Saturday the 16th of October.
    Thank you
    Russell Sims
    Practice Manager

  2. Thank Russell, duly amended! Ed.