Minor Illness

Minor Illness

Many common infections of the nose, throat, sinuses, ears and chest are caused by viruses.

As well as flu-like illness and gut infections causing diarrhoea and vomiting.

If you are normally well, your own immune system is good at fighting off this type of viral infection.

Antibiotics are NOT required for viral infections because:

  • They do NOT kill viruses
  • They can have side effects such as diarrhoea, rashes or vomiting
  • Overuse of antibiotics is causing resistance, so they may not be effective when really needed.

You may feel unwell for several days or more until a viral infection clears.

The following treatments and recommended to ease the symptoms:

  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen will reduce a fever and ease headaches, aches and pains. (seek advice from your pharmacist if you have any underlying conditions or are taking other medications)
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • If you have a temperature, DO NOT wrap up, try and cool yourself down. This is particularly important with children
  • Rest
  • Try steam inhalation
  • Vitamin C

Below is some further information and advice regarding specific conditions, and when to seek advice or review.

Sore Throat – Follow previous advice and

  • Lozenges or throat sprays may ease discomfort, as may gargling with aspirin (speak to your pharmacist if you have any underlying conditions or are taking other medications)

!! Seek review if unable to swallow or observed a large swelling around one tonsil.

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME UNTIL I FEEL BETTER – 7 DAYS

Swollen Glands– Follow previous advice and

!! Seek review if symptoms have been present for more than one week in teenagers and young adults OR there is a single very painful gland OR glands are hardening or enlarging over a 2 week period.

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME UNTIL I FEEL BETTER – 7 DAYS

Colds and FluFollow previous advise and 

!! Seek review if you have a high temperature and have recently travelled to a tropical region.

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME UNTIL I FEEL BETTER – 7-14 DAYS

SinusitisFollow previous advice and

  • Try steam inhalation, 3-4 times a day
  • Use decongestant nasal sprays or drops
  • Warm face packs

!! Seek review if swelling around the eyes, cheeks or forehead

!! If only affecting one side, seek review at your dentist, it may be a dental infection

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME BEFORE I FEEL BETTER – 7 DAYS 

CoughFollow previous advice and

  • Use steam inhalation, 3-4 times a day
  • Stop smoking
  • Cough linctus may ease symptoms, but will not cure the cough

!! Seek review if associated with one sided chest pain, or deep breathing

!! Seek review if persistent or recurrent symptoms

!! Seek review if associated with severe breathlessness

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME BEFORE I FEEL BETTER – 3 WEEKS

Fever or High Temperature– Follow previous advice and

  • Avoid over strenuous activity
  • Remember, a temperature is the body’s natural immune system response to an infection

!! Review is associated with dislike of light, neck stiffness, drowsiness or rash

!! Seek review if unexplained fever lasting more than 7 days

!! Seek review if you have travelled to a tropical region in the last 12 months

Conjunctivitis

  • Conjunctivitis can be highly infectious, use your own face cloth and towel to avoid spread
  • Remove contact lenses, clean and do not wear until infection has resolved
  • Seek advice from pharmacist regarding eye drops

!! Seek review if you are experiencing visual disturbances, severe inflammation, have a dislike of light or there is a possibility of a foreign body in the eye.

Ear Pain– Follow previous advice and

  • You are recommended to use Vaseline and cotton wool to keep shampoo, water and shower gel out of the ear
  • Severe infections may cause temporary deafness by perforation of the eardrum, which will heal in a few weeks

!! Seek review if hearing does not return to normal within 14 days

!! Seek review if you are experiencing recurrent episodes of ear pain

AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME UNTIL I FEEL BETTER – 4-7 DAYS

Diarrhoea and VomitingFollow previous advice and

  • Recommend good hygiene and hand washing
  • Food handlers must be clear of symptoms for 48 hours before returning to work
  • Take additional fluids, flat cola may be helpful when feeling sick
  • Fasting no longer recommended. High carbohydrate foods such as boiled rice seem to be beneficial
  • Some evidence of probiotic drinks such as Yakult and Actimel being helpful, particularly if diarrhoea is caused by antibiotics

!! Seek review if significant blood seen in vomit or stool, or if feverish

!! Seek review if any underlying inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

 

 Advice from our Practice Nurse, Emma Knowles.

Updated November 2015