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Self Help

Self help means recognising minor illnesses and being able to treat the symptoms, preventing health problems developing and knowing when to call for outside medical help.

Self help doesn't mean dealing with health problems on your own. The surgery team are there to help with any problems or situations you can't cope with. The pharmacist can also give advice on treating minor illnesses.

Cuts - Stop the bleeding from a minor cut by pressing it, with clean hands, for a few minutes; hold a cut arm or leg up high. If a cut bleeds freely any germs will normally be washed away by the blood. If it is a deep cut and the edges cannot be pulled together go to the Accident and Emergency department. Redness or swelling can be a sign of infection in a cut or graze and you should make an appointment to have it seen at the surgery. You may be advised to have a tetanus injection if you haven't had one for 10 years.

Burns - Cool down the affected area with lots of cold water immediately and continue to do this for at least 10 minutes. If the burn is larger than 4 or 5 inches across, if it is on the face or if the skin is broken, see the nurse at the practice as soon as possible. If a child has a burn or scald seek medical attention, or if the skin has turned white or black, go to the nearest Accident and Emergency (Casualty) department immediately.

Sprains - Remember I-C-E
I stands for ice. Immediately pack the sprained area with ice or a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a cloth, to reduce swelling and speed up the healing process. Keep this on for about 20 minutes.
C means compression. Bind the injured area with an elastic bandage, so it is well supported, but not so tight that it restricts the flow of blood. Retighten a few times a day.
E means elevation. Rest the sprained area and keep it held high. For example, if you have a sprained ankle, rest it on a stool that is higher than the chair you are sitting on.

Head injuries - For a minor knock or bump, put on a cold damp cloth. A person should be seen by a GP or taken to Accident and Emergency without delay if they have any of the following symptoms: vomiting, unconsciousness, double vision, drowsiness or confusion.

Choking - Stand behind the person and hug them firmly above the waist, pushing your fist up under their ribs to make them cough up the blockage. For a young child, hold the child upside down and thump on the back.


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