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Common Ailments & Accidents

Many common aches and pains can be treated at home without the need to consult a doctor:

Many illnesses, whilst uncomfortable, are not serious and will usually settle without any treatment within a week or so. In these cases, there are a number of measures which you can take to relieve some of the symptoms and avoid the need to see a doctor.

Follow the advice given if you are confident that you have one of the illnesses listed below. If your symptoms do not appear to be settling as you would expect, or you are unsure of the diagnosis or are concerned in any way, please contact the surgery for advice from a doctor.

Back Pain

Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine being made up of 24 fragile bones and associated cartilage and tendons supports the whole weight of the upper body and therefore, 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 more than a few days. If, as is usual, the pain has been cause by abuse i.e. lifting weights etc., be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit straight with a support for the small of your back. Take aspirin (unless you have been told to avoid aspirin) or paracetamol, which will help relieve the pain and inflammation. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, heat treatment, gentle exercise, or some kind of supportive corset.


Apply large quantities for cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. This may take as long as 15 minutes! If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose dry dressing. If the burn is longer than 4 or 5 inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor as soon as possible.


Sit in a chair (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult with your doctor.


Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove heat. Calamine lotion will relieve the irritation whilst paracetamol will also help. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid over-exposure to the harmful effects of the sun. Small children should wear T-shirts and use high factor sun block on the beach. When applying sun cream, always remember to ensure the sun cream is placed on sensitive areas such as the nose and ears.

Insect Bites and Stings

Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms.

Note: Bee stings should be scrapped away rather than plucked in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.

Head Lice

These creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Head lice combs are available from local pharmacies. They can advise you on other treatments including medicated head lotion.

Chicken Pox

On the first day a rash appears as small red patches about 3 – 4 mm across. Within a few hours of these developing, small blisters appear in the centre of these patches. During the next 3 or 4 days further patches will appear and earlier ones will turn crusty and fall off. Oily calamine lotion may be applied to soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from 2 – 3 days before the rash appears and up to 5 days after this date. Children may return to school as soon as the last blister dries up.


Most coughs, particularly in children, are caused by virus infections and antibiotics are unhelpful. Most seem to get worse at night. Drinking plenty of fluids helps. Cough mixtures are often unhelpful. Paracetamol should be taken if there is a high temperature. Most will settle in about a week; however, if they do not or there is difficulty breathing, large quantities of phlegm being coughed up or the patient appears generally unwell, the doctor should be consulted.


These are caused by a virus infection for which there is no known cure; antibiotics have no effect. Symptoms are troublesome, but, in normally healthy people, not dangerous and include fatigue, high temperature, runny nose, sneezing and often include a sore throat and cough. Symptoms may last for a week or longer and treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids, rest and, if you have a headache or high temperature, taking regular paracetamol (Calpol or Disprol for children).

Sore Throat

The majority again are caused by a virus infection and only about one in ten people will require antibiotics. The most effective treatment is gargling with soluble aspirin (provided you are not allergic to this or taking medicine that interacts with it). Symptoms usually last for about five days and might be accompanied by a high temperature. See your Doctor if symptoms persist or are severe.


This is a viral illness, which commonly occurs in winter epidemics. Symptoms may include fever, headache, backache and aching muscles, dry cough and sore throat. It usually lasts four to fourteen days followed by a gradual improvement, although fatigue can persist. General measures such as rest, increased fluid intake and Paracetamol is usually all that is required. Antibiotics may be required, for complications such as chest infections, but are not given routinely. A Flu vaccination is recommended for the elderly and those with a chronic disease such as bronchitis, diabetes, heart disease etc. and in those living in a nursing home. Patients who are entitled to the vaccination will receive a letter from the Practice in August/September each year to invite them to make an appointment at one of the specially run flu vaccination clinics held at the practice.

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

In adults, acute diarrhoea is most commonly caused by a virus infection, which cannot be treated directly. Anti diarrhoea agents such as Loperamide or Kaolin and Morphine preparations can be used if you have to travel or attend an important engagement, but they do not shorten the course of the diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea in small babies and young children needs careful attention as it can lead to dehydration if it persists for more than a few hours. Solids should be discontinued and clear fluids given every fifteen minutes. Commercial preparations in sachet form for dilution contain the correct balance of glucose and other essential nutrients and are available from your pharmacist. If the diarrhoea persists or is accompanied by vomiting, weakness or lethargy, consult your doctor.

High Temperature

Many illnesses can cause a high temperature including those mentioned above. Adults should take Paracetamol or Aspirin (unless you have been told to avoid Aspirin), drink plenty of cool fluids and keep clothing and room temperature to a minimum until symptoms subside. Children should take Paracetamol (this includes Calpol), clothing removed and the room temperature reduced as far as possible.

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Your Doctors Surgery in Mansfield

Located in a central location with ample parking.

Location & Contact

Acorn Medical Practice
11-13 Wood Street
NG18 1QA
Tel: 01623 428412

NG18 1QA
Opening Hours

Monday: 08.00 – 18.30
Tuesday: 08.00 – 18.30
Wednesday: 08.00 – 17.00
Thursday: 08.00 – 18.30
Friday: 08.00 – 18.30