Monifieth Medical Practice
General Enquiries Telephone Number

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Frequently Asked Questions

Smoking

Why give up?

Over 100.000 people die each year in the UK from smoking related disease.

Every cigarette you smoke can shorten your life by an average of five and a half minutes. Babies of smokers are, on average, 200 grams smaller than those of non-smokers. Smokers smell!

How to give up
  • Stopping smoking is all about motivation. Without the real desire to give up you are unable to succeed. You must want to give up rather than feel you should give up.
  • Set a date a week or so in the future when you intend to stop.
  • Tell all your friends, relations and work colleagues that you're giving up on that day and ask for their support and encouragement. If at all possible, find someone to give up with you.
  • When the big day comes, plan it carefully with plenty to keep you occupied. Avoid situations where the desire to smoke will be strongest such as whilst drinking. Think of alternative distractions or activities.
  • Finally, carefully put the money you would have spent on cigarettes on one side, each day, to save up for some special treat as a reward.
  • If you've tried everything and failed but are still keen to give up, seek help from your doctor.
Preventing a relapse!
  • Whenever you feel the need for a cigarette, go back to the procedure that helped you give up in the first place.
  • Avoid complacency and remember that you're a non-smoker!
  • Think how unpleasant smokers smell now that you've given up. Do you want to smell like them?
  • Need further help? Please ask at Reception for details.

Advice to patients

Many common health problems can be properly treated using home remedies and some widely available non-prescription medicines. We include here some simple guidelines to both. The medicines mentioned below cost less bought over the counter than on prescription and have equal effectiveness.

How to care for someone with a temperature

Introduction

A temperature is a natural response to infection. The immune system works better at a temperature slightly higher than normal body temperature (37ºC). Sore parts of the body feel more painful when you are hot, so controlling a temperature will reduce pain. Temperatures rise and fall slowly. Even in hospital they are only checked every four hours – so be patient and give the measures below time to work. A very high temperature does not necessarily indicate a very serious illness. The highest temperatures are usually caused by viruses and are short lived, but may recur at intervals of several hours. It is important to realize that viral infections (e.g. colds and flu) are unaffected by antibiotics. Even in those cases where antibiotics do help, this takes at least 48 hours. You will always get more benefit from treating a temperature properly than from getting a first dose of an antibiotic sooner rather than later.

1. A child with a temperature

Most temperatures in children are caused by viral illnesses, usually colds. The average child will experience six to eight of these per year! A bottle of paracetamol syrup stored in an out-of-reach cupboard keeps for several months and rarely goes unused. Having established that your child has a temperature, make sure he or she is dressed in cool clothes and the room is also cool. If they are in bed make sure the blankets are light. Give your child paracetamol (Calpol, Disprol etc). Give the maximum dose stated on the pack for the child’s age four times per day at regular intervals, for as long as they are unwell. Encourage your child to drink cool drinks. This has a cooling effect, and replaces fluids lost by the fever. Water or juice is best, and small amounts are often much better than none at all. If they are still hot and uncomfortable, a cool bath will be of additional benefit and can of course be repeated. If these measures do not help and you are concerned or not sure what to do, then the doctor will be happy to advise further, and visit if necessary.

2. An older child or adult with a temperature

Adults and children over 12 may take aspirin if preferred. Regular use of this or paracetamol and cooling measures as above are the mainstay of treatment.

3. Coughs, Colds and the Flu

Bed rest is usually beneficial. Temperatures should be treated as above. Ibuprofen is available without prescription and is very useful for those fluey pains and headaches. Decongestant tablets or spray provide good relief from blocked or runny noses and sinus congestion. Pholcodine linctus is available from the chemists without a prescription and is an effective cough remedy. Children’s formulations of these medicines are also available. If you are taking regular medication your pharmacist can advise you if these remedies will adversely affect them.

Whilst self treatment can be very helpful in relieving symptoms, antibiotics are of no help. This is because flu and colds are viral illnesses and antibiotics have no effect against viruses. There use has the potential for adverse (allergic) reactions and the development of reduced efficacy through overuse.

If you are unsure what to do or begin to cough up discoloured sputum, then it is advisable to see the doctor. If you have asthma or diabetes seek further advice promptly.

4. Sore throats

It is known that 70% of these infections are viral and clear up in four or five days without further treatment. Enlarged tender glands are a normal part of this illness. The usual painkillers will help, and a soluble aspirin dissolved in a little warm water, then gargled relieves pain and swelling. Provided you don’t swallow it, it can be repeated hourly. Aspirin should never be used in the under 12’s. Antiseptic sprays can be purchased and are very useful. If symptoms persist an antibiotic may be required, but this is not normal usual practice.

5. Diarrhoea and/or vomiting

Also called gastroenteritis, this may be caused by infection or food poisoning. Colicky tummy pain (often quite severe, though intermittent) is common, especially before episodes of diarrhoea. In both cases the disease is self-limiting and is the body’s reaction to something harmful in the gut. For this reason it is best to let the gut clear itself out and treatment is aimed at fluid replacement to allow this to happen without causing dehydration.

Once you know what the problem is, it is best to take nothing by mouth for at least a couple of hours to rest the gut. Then whilst continuing to avoid solids, begin to try small amounts (sips) of fluid, avoiding milk, tea or coffee – water or weak juice is ideal. Unless the illness has been severe or persistent it is not necessary to add sugar or use rehydration solutions; it is more important to replace the fluid.

Once you have been keeping fluids down for six hours or so, and you feel that you want to eat, then try a small amount of solids. Starchy foods like toast, plain biscuits, pasta or porridge are ideal. Avoid dairy products or eggs during the illness and for several days after.

Do not be in too much of a hurry to return to a normal diet as you may bring on a relapse! The same basic principles apply to children as adults, though with greater emphasis on replacement fluids, by offering small amounts often. Don’t worry about not eating solids for 48 hours or so, this will do no harm and giving them too soon will prolong the illness. If, despite an initial period of resting, your child is unable to keep down fluids in the face of sustained diarrhoea and/or vomiting – then you should seek the doctor’s advice. This applies particularly to very young children, those who appear very unwell in themselves e.g. drowsy or confused, and of course when you yourself are worried.

6. Back pain

It is now recognized by back specialists and physiotherapists that early re-mobilization is very important in the management of all degrees of back pain. Strict rest on a firm surface is not recommended for more than 48 hours, followed by a gentle return to normal daily activities. This avoids the development of a stiff back.

To help this, regular pain relief with the full dose of paracetamol, or co-codamol and/or ibuprofen is very important.

What to do at the time of bereavement

If the death happens at home, call a friend or relative if possible, and ask them to come round to be with you. Telephone the doctor on 534301. The duty doctor will call to confirm death has taken place, and if possible issue a death certificate. Once this is done the doctor will usually advise you to call a funeral director, who will make the necessary further arrangements. If the death happens in hospital, call a funeral director and inform them that you need their help. Arrange to have the death certificate collected from the hospital. The death certificate is then taken to the local Registrar who supplies a form that the funeral director needs. Give the funeral director the form and they will then take over responsibility for the arrangements.

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