The Family Health Card
Look after your family and know what to do for everyday illnesses. They will usually get better in a few days and you will help your doctor by taking the correct action. You may not need to see him or her at all and will often be able to avoid an emergency call
Consult your doctor for persistent symptoms
People often worry that any symptom is the sign of a serious illness when it is much more likely to be something very simple.
Your chemist will advise the correct dosages and precautions for the recommended drugs. Aspirin should not be given to children under twelve years of age.
BABIES AND CHILDREN
Slight symptoms of cold or tummy upset are not serious, but you should consult your doctor if they become worse, especially if the baby is less than one year old.
Your child when ill will probably feel better in bed or lying on a sofa downstairs. Do not cover your child. Do not overheat with clothing or bedclothes. Keep the room well ventilated and not too warm. Colds and viral infections are not normally helped by antibiotics.
Remove the clothes and sponge all over with cool water or give the child repeated baths with lukewarm water. Dress again with light clothing. This will make your child feel much more comfortable and will also prevent fits in younger children.
Paracetamol medicines will reduce the temperature by bringing down your body thermostat (Heat regulating centre) to normal level. In many bacterial and viral infections this thermostat is set at a higher level. Viral fever usually takes 2 to 3 days to go down slowly. Give plenty of fluids such as frequent juice or milk drinks (avoid milk if the person has diarrhoea). Food is not essential and your child will usually not be hungry.
In case of a very high temperature, to prevent fits you should
a) remove clothes
b) give repeated baths with lukewarm water
c) give paracetamol every 4 – 6 hours
Cough medicine is not necessary during the daytime when the cough may help to clear the chest. This can be encouraged with steam inhalation at least 5 to 6 times daily with plenty of steam. Keep boiling pots/kettles to get a constant supply of steam.
Use paracetamol as for fever and pain. Consult your doctor within 24 to 48 hours.
Spots on their own are rarely serious and an urgent visit is not usually necessary. Your doctor will advise if your child is ill or you are concerned. Avoid tight clothing and wool and nylon next to the skin, especially if the rash is itchy. If the spots are associated with a high temperature and vomiting consult your doctor.
VOMITING AND DIARRHOEA
DO NOT GIVE THE PATIENT SOLID FOODS.
Give the patient plenty of fluids. These should be in small quantities but frequently if there is vomiting. The best fluid for babies and young children is Sodium Chloride (salt) and Glucose oral powder compound. Other clear fluids can be given later but avoid milk products at first. Always wash your hands after handling nappies or the toilet.
In the presence of vomiting keep on giving plenty of fluid as they will not vomit all the fluid up. ( If they drink one glass of fluid they will only vomit a quarter of the fluid up.)
DANGER SIGNS IN CHILDREN
In children these warning signs mean you should get medical advice immediately. Preferably take your child to the local hospital to save time.
- Violet coloured spots that don’t fade when pressed
- Breathing difficulties- gulping, gasping, wheezing, unable to speak or drink
- Pain when breathing in
- Weakness, drowsiness or confusion, difficult to wake
- No reaction from the child to you or its surroundings, blank staring expression.
- Vomiting a lot, seems ill.
- Unable to sit up or bend head forward
- High pitch moaning cry or whimper
Symptoms of cold, influenza or sore throat will usually last for several days and you should stay in bed if you feel ill. Avoid aspirin if you know that it upsets you and also when there is nausea and vomiting.
Avoid overheating and reduce the temperature with cool sponging and Paracetamol tablets or Soluble aspirin tablets. These will also relieve your aches and pains. Drink at least four pints of cool liquid daily.
Use Pholcodine Linctus, mainly at night so that your sleep is not disturbed. Daytime coughing will help to clear your chest. Steam inhalation will also help to clear your chest. Do this 5 to 6 times daily. If this is not improved in 5 to 6 days consult your doctor. Consult your doctor earlier if you are a smoker or you have a low immunity.
Paracetamol tablets or Soluble Aspirin tablets will help the pain. You may also find that a throat lozenge is soothing. Repeated gargling to wash out the infection is more important. Consult your doctor if there is no improvement within 4 to 5 days.
This may be pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting or heartburn. Eat frequent, small, plain meals and avoid aspirin. The symptoms will be relieved by an antacid such as Aluminium Hydroxide Mixture, Magnesium Trisilicate Mixture or Aluminium Hydroxide tablets.
Avoid solid food but take plenty of fluids. If symptoms persist a mixture containing Kaolin may be used. Another powerful remedy for diarrhea is Loperamide capsules. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
It is not necessary to move you bowel every day, though motions should not be hard and difficult to pass. A high fibre diet and good fluid intake may be all you need. Otherwise chose a mild laxatives which should not be used for prolonged periods.
HEADACHES, BACKACHE, JOINT AND MUSCLE PAINS
Use Paracetamol tablets or soluble Aspirin tablets. Stronger pain relievers are codeine and Paracetamol tablets. Aspirin and Codeine tablets (both are obtainable in dispersible form so that you can take them in a drink if you prefer) and Ibuprofen tablets. Severe backache may require complete bed rest but find your most comfortable position.
TIPS ON SKIN CARE
1. Oil massage: Apply oil all over the body half an hour before you bathe or shower and massage into skin. You can use coconut oil, almond oil, rapeseed oil or any natural oil.
2.Aqueous cream: Apply Aqueous cream over the oil as soap substitute before taking a bath or shower.
3. Bathe: Take a bath or shower and throughly dry your skin.
4.Oilatum cream: Apply oilatum cream twice daily, or use any emollient cream e.g. E45, Vaseline Dermacare, Nivea , Ultrabase etc.
USEFUL ITEMS FOR STOCKING YOUR HOME MEDICINE CHEST
KEEP MEDICINE AWAY FROM CHILDREN
- Paracetamol syrup (Calpol, Disprol etc)- for pain or fever in children. Give correct dose.
- Paracetamol or Aspirin (adults and teenagers)- for headaches, colds, fever, sore throats and pain.
- Cough medicine- only to be taken at bedtime following repeated steam inhalation.
- Menthol crystals or olbas oil – to be used with steam inhalation for cat
For Home Treatments we also recommend you to visit the medicine chest website :
The medicine chest website was designed to provide you with useful information at home treatments, advise as to when a pharmacist may be able to help and also clearly outline when you should visit your doctor