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Help us to Help You; The Home Treatment Guide

 National Self Care Week (16 - 22 November 2020)


What is Self-Care Week?

Self-care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on establishing support for self-care across communities, families and generations.

More needs to be done to support people to better look after their own health. Empowering individuals to self-care has many benefits for their short term and long term health and this is important since people are living longer.

Helping people to look after their own health, and their family’s health also helps to manage demand on health services.

 Helpful Fact Sheets - please click on the links

      1. Low Back Pain

      2. Eczema

      3. Heartburn and indigestion

      4. Fever in children

      5. Constipation

      6. Headache
      7. Coughs
      8. Acne

      9. Sprains and strains
      10. Sore Throat

      11. Otitis media

      12. Common cold

      13. Sinusitis

      14. Urine symptoms in men

      15. For more information please visit:



Why does the Receptionist ask me for ‘some idea of the problem’?

The Doctors have implemented a monthly ‘topic of focus’ which aims to raise awareness of current important national and local health campaigns but also to provide a ‘spotlight’ on certain areas/projects the Practice is directly involved in.

The current focus is the appointments system and why the Doctors have trained the staff to ask patients for ‘some idea of the problem’ when making an appointment booking.

For information on this subject, please click here to download the appointments system Practice leaflet.


Community defibrillator - how to retrieve code for external box

Defibrillators in Public Places

A defibrillator is a machine designed to deliver an electric shock to a person whose heart has stopped. Termed a cardiac arrest, this is different from, but may be caused by, a heart attack, where blood flow to the heart is impaired.

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is designed to be used by a lay person. The UK’s National Defibrillator Programme has placed AEDs in airports, railway stations, and venues where large groups of people gather. Their use relies on someone witnessing a person having a cardiac arrest and being prepared to use an AED.

Community public access defibrillators are AEDs owned and maintained by the

community. They are designed to be used by anyone but training may be offered by the

suppliers of the equipment. They are usually found on the outside of village halls or

schools, and are usually in locked cabinets. Those in locked cabinets are accessed by a code which is held by the ambulance service. When a 999 call is made, the service will advise on the location of the AED and provide the code.

The Breast Centre provides routine breast screening to all women aged 50-70 who are registered with a GP in the area.

They are also part of the age expansion trial - offering some appointments to women aged 47-74.

They also run a symptomatic service for women and men who are referred by their GP.


  • Great Western Hospital - ground floor
  • Two mobile units travel to various sites in Wiltshire

Please click here for more information or call 01793 604036


Exercise after stroke classes

If you have had a stroke, then a referral to this exercise programme will help you by:

  • Improving your confidence to become more independent.
  • Improving your fitness and energy levels so you can do more.
  • Building your strength and mobility, so that daily tasks become easier.
  • Reduce the risk of a second stroke and other illnesses.
  • Improve your general health and wellbeing.

For more information please click here

The Wiltshire BOBBY VAN Trust – a Free Service!


The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust is an independent charity working closely with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service.


Our aims are to:


 Reduce the incidence of crime amongst older, vulnerable and disadvantaged people across Swindon and Wiltshire

 Reduce the fear of crime and make people feel safer in their homes

 Reduce the incidence of repeat crimes

 Reduce levels of domestic fire incidents by promoting awareness of fire safety, detection and prevention.


Who We Are: Bobby Operators are:


 Skilled carpenters/lock fitters

 Trained Crime Reduction Officers

 Trained Fire Safety Advisers


Bobby Operators wear uniforms similar to those worn by Police Officers, for reassurance, and always carry formal identification.

Two vans, which are mobile workshops, each with a dedicated Bobby Operator, are operated by the Trust across Swindon and Wiltshire.


What We Do: Visits are made to clients’ homes - and are made only by appointment.

The Bobby Operator evaluates needs by means of a security and fire risk assessment.

Bobby Operators give expert advice on safety and security. They supply and install appropriate equipment to improve the home’s security – free of charge.

The client is advised on good practice regarding property security, personal safety and fire prevention.

Operators reassure and address any concerns that the client may have.


Bobby Operators also:

 distribute Message-in-a-Bottle funded by the local Lions Club to give vital information in an emergency

 supply carbon monoxide detectors and external key safes. We ask for £70.00 to cover the cost of a keysafe

 provide information on other agencies which may be able to help the client




for older, vulnerable and disadvantaged people living in Wiltshire and Swindon If you are 60+ or vulnerable due to a disability and would like the

Bobby Van to visit you, please ring 01380 861155




As a charity funded entirely by donations we are always grateful for any contribution.


Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

It's estimated there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year. About 15% of cases occur while people are abroad.

Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it's detected early on. But if it's not treated or treatment is delayed, there's a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.

For information on the following please follow the links below.

Lyme disease the facts click here

Ticks and Lyme disease click here

Lyme Neuroborreliosis click here

Ticks in Britain click here

Tick-borne diseases in Britain click here

For more information please follow the link to the website


Help us to Help you: The Home Treatment Guide

The Doctors of the Practice have formulated some wording to help you manage some of your conditions at home. The information provided below gives a wealth of useful medicines and dressings, with a description of their uses and are worth stocking at home in readiness for minor illnesses. Basic first aid advice is also provided to help manage common ailments such as back pain, coughs, cystitis, stomach ache, sinusitis, earache and many more.

It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments. By self managing a lot of these common minor illnesses, the Doctors will have more time to focus on the frailer, seriously ill patients and could save you time and trouble.

Family Medicine Chest

Here is a list of useful medicines and dressings with a description of their uses.  All are quite cheap and worth stocking at home in readiness for minor illnesses.  Keep them in a box or cupboard with a lock, or store them well out of reach of children.


  • Paracetamol tablets and syrups – for relief of pain or fever


  • Antiseptic cream – for treating septic spots and grazes          
  • Antihistmine- for insect bites and stings and allergic reactions


  • Non adhesive dressings, sticking plaster and 3" wide crepe bandage – to keep dressings in place and to support sprained or bruised joints.


  • A selection of plasters.


  • Cotton wool – for cleaning cuts and grazes or antiseptic wipes.


  • A thermometer/fever scan (forehead thermometer).


  • A good up to date first aid book eg St John Ambulance, Red Cross.


Always keep medicines in a safe place. You should return unused or out of date medicines to your local Pharmacist.


First Aid Kits


St John Ambulance are sending out free guides to all UK residents. 

Click here to apply.


Sensible Precautions if a Member of Your Family is Unwell


  • Paracetamol is the best treatment for a high temperature. 


  • Do not overheat. Remove blankets, and layers of clothing.  Sponge down with a tepid flannel.


  • Do not worry if they do not want to eat.  If is more important to encourage them to drink water or weak squash regularly.


  • Keep a separate towel for them to use and plate, knife, fork, spoon and cup for them to use during their illness.


  • Use disposable handkerchiefs.  


List of Common Ailments A - Z



Move around as much as the pain allows, massage and stretches help. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen are useful. This will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve inflammation. It may also help to use an ice pack over the painful area. At night rest your back by lying on a firm mattress.




Chickenpox is rarely a serious illness in normally healthy children. Small blisters start on the chest and tummy spreading to the face, arms and legs. These blisters then dry and form scabs. The scabs finally fall off after about one to three weeks and should not leave scars.


Give your child Paracetamol if they have a temperature. Allow them to have cool baths which will help the itching. Antihistamines such as Phenergan and Piriton are good for itchy spots.



This leads to redness, sore gritty feeling and a sticky crusting discharge of the eyes.  It lasts about 7 days and usually gets better without treatment. Symptoms can be helped by cleaning eyes frequently (every 3 hours) with water which has been boiled and left to cool. Use fresh pieces of cotton wool each time.  




The best treatments are steam inhalations and a linctus.


When to see the doctor


  • If coughing produces constant green or brown phlegm – which may mean that the lower air passages are infected. 
  • If breathing is accompanied by a pain in the chest or shortness of breath.
  • If coughing produces blood.



Croup is a particular type of barking cough which affects children up to the age of 5 years old. Take them into a steamy atmosphere such as the bathroom with a hot shower running or the kitchen with a couple of saucepans of water boiling on the stove.  When putting the child back to bed you should prop the head or top of the bed.

(Please take care in the steamy environment to avoid risk of burns).




Most cuts, grazes and bruises can be treated at home.




Bleeding can usually be stopped by continuous pressure over the cut for 5 minutes.


Bring edges together then apply plaster dressing firmly.


Dirt will often enter a graze.  It must be cleaned out carefully with clean water or a weak antiseptic solution.  After cleaning, leave the graze uncovered which will allow the graze to gradually dry.


Nose Bleeds

Lean forward and pinch nose continuously for at least 10 minutes. At the same time you can apply an ice pack to your forehead. Avoid blowing your nose for 48 hours.



Bruises are very common in children, and normally get better in 7 to 10 days. 

The child may be stiff the next day. Avoid vigorous exercise for 24 to 48 hours. Take paracetamol for pain relief.


In the case of a badly bruised leg, the limb should be raised. A cold compress or frozen peas may ease a bad bruise if applied at once. 


Bruises on the head may cause anxiety. If the patient was knocked unconscious and cannot remember what happened, he or she should be taken to the hospital casualty department without delay.


Insect Bites

These are common.  They look like spots and are very itchy.  The itching can be relieved by calamine lotion and antihistamine tablets. 


Burns and Scalds

Minor burns and scalds cause redness of the skin.  Apply a large quantity of cold water to the affected areas as soon as possible.  Maintain this until the pain subsides.  This may take as long as 15 minutes.  Do not use oily or greasy ointments on burns as this makes them worse.  If the skin is unbroken but blistered apply a loose, dry dressing.  If the burn is larger than 4 to 5 inches in diameter, or the skin is broken, consult Minor Injuries Unit. 



Treat as for other burns, with cold water.  Use paracetamol and a moisturiser.  


Bladder infections are very common.  A stinging burning feeling on passing urine, passing urine more frequently and an urge to pass urine with nothing to pass.  Some experience lower abdominal pain, back pain, a high temperature and blood in the urine.  Increasing fluids and sachets of cystem from the pharmacy can relieve symptoms.  Contact the surgery if severe or persistent symptoms where antibiotics may be given.  Sometimes we might want to send a urine sample to the lab, please bring a specimen to the surgery.



In adults most diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral infection and gets better without treatment.  Advice can vary about eating, some people prefer not to eat anything but it is ok to eat carbohydrate- rice , bread , potato. Avoid milk  and  maintain an adequate intake of clear fluids (water, weak squash or rehydration salts from the pharmacy).


If holiday diarrhoea persists for more than 5/7 days contact your doctor. 


Diarrhoea in very young children and babies needs particularly careful attention due to the risk of dehydration.  Continue breast or bottle feeding and add boiled water or flat cola or lemonade.  There are rehydrating sachets such as Dioralyte.  If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours and are accompanied by vomiting or weakness you should consult your doctor.


Encourage the patient to drink plenty of water.

Take care not to spread infection by washing hands thoroughly.



Often accompanies a cold especially in children.  Most (95%) will not last more than 3 days and settle without antibiotics.  They need ibuprofen or Paracetamol to decrease the pain and reduce a high temperature.  If the ear discharges contact the surgery, where an antibiotic will often be given. 



Small patches of dry itchy skin are very common and the pharmacist can advise and supply moisturiser and a weak steroid cream.  More widespread or persisting rashes usually will require the emergency nurse or doctor to prescribe.



This is a viral infection which feels awful.  A high temperature headache, aching muscles, weakness, tiredness and a dry cough.  It can last up to two weeks.  Most settle with rest, fluids, Paracetamol or ibuprofen. Most cases do not require antibiotics. If you are pregnant, frail, have a long term illness such as diabetes, kidney failure, a chest complaint requiring inhalers or develop chest pain breathlessness or thick green phlegm, please contact the surgery.



Medicated head lotion can be bought at the chemist.  Treat the whole family.



A contagious, weeping, skin infection with golden crusting.  Avoid sharing flannels and towels and contact the surgery.



Many causes, including pain, worries, anxiety, depression and a snoring partner.  Before bed have an hour relaxing, reading, listening to music, a hot bath, a hot milky drink, avoid coffee, tea and tobacco.  Doctors prefer to avoid sleeping tablets and will encourage establishing good sleeping patterns and habits.



Cheek pain often worse on bending forwards, high temperature, headache, toothache, blocked nose with thick green discharge.  Can follow a cold.  Responds to steam inhalation, Paracetamol and otrivine decongestion spray available from the pharmacy.  Antibiotics are not thought to be helpful.



Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection which antibiotics cannot cure.  With simple treatment the patient normally gets better in 7 days.  Throat lozenges, Paracetamol, salt water gargles and steam inhalations may help.


Young children should be given Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or temperature.


Note:  Do not give aspirin to any child under the age of 16.



Sometimes earache also occurs commonly in children (with a cold, sore throat or teething) and gets better in 3 days without treatment.  Give Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for their pain and temperature.  Also give steam inhalations two or three times a day, to help decongest them.



First apply a cold compress containing ice or frozen peas if possible for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce the swelling.  Elevate the limb initially and keep moving. Use paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief.



Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion, wind or constipation.  A wrapped hot water bottle, Paracetamol and, in the case of indigestion a simple antacid will help.  If the pain lasts for longer than 8 hours or increases in intensity you should consult your doctor.



Stress is a normal response to difficult circumstances.  It is very unpleasant and can lead to headaches, a fast heart beat, dry mouth, lump in the throat, a knotted stomach with nausea, shaking tremor and giddiness.  Generally if the cause is removed or the problem resolved then the symptoms will ease.


Depression causes low mood, decreased energy levels, tearfulness, poor sleep, changes in appetite, decreased sex drive, lack of enjoyment and strained relationships.  Talk things through with family, work colleagues bosses and friends.  Take more exercise, get more rest and sleep, eat healthily and decrease alcohol consumption.  Try to resolve the issues contributing to the situation.  If there is no improvement make an appointment with your doctor.



Common cold symptoms include a hot feeling in the back of the nose, a dry throat, feeling generally unwell and achy and a runny nose with clear liquid or thick, yellow discharge. There may be a slight temperature the whole illness lasts 7 to 10 days.


Take plenty of fluids, Paracetamol or ibuprofen.



This is a minor infection causing a small red tender swelling of the eyelid.  It should settle in about a week and antibiotics or creams tend NOT to help in clearing this up. A warm compress may help to alleviate symptoms. If these occur frequently the triage nurse can advise on prevention strategies.



Vomiting may be caused by a viral infection of the stomach.  It usually stops within 24 hours, and in some cases may be followed by diarrhoea.


Some children vomit when they have a temperature.


Eat nothing, sip clear fluids continuously and as the stomach settles, take food such as dry biscuits, bread or breakfast cereals before gradually returning to a normal diet.



Caused by viruses.  Mildly infectious on direct contact, they are harmless and most disappear after a few years.  Your pharmacist can advise on treatments that might help.


In the past, the Surgery used to run clinics for the treatment of warts & verruca’s using liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the affected skin cells. The Surgery no longer offers this treatment and patients seeking advice from our Emergency Nurses for treatment options will get the same advice from the Pharmacy.

First line treatment for verruca’s is ‘bazooka’ (also known as salicylic acid).

Most warts and verruca’s are harmless and most will disappear on their own but may take a few years!

Click on the following link for more info on verruca’s….. 



 MIAB1  Message in a bottle Scheme

This scheme is free to the user. Whilst it is focused on the more vulnerable people in our community, anyone can fall downstairs or have a car accident, so this scheme can benefit anyone, including you. As a minimum it will save the Emergency Services valuable time identifying you and your emergency contacts. By telling whether you have special medication or allergies or not, it is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families.

As the name suggests, the personal information is kept in a bottle. The bottle is plastic,with a push fit lid, and is big enough to hold the necessary information. The bottle is then kept in the fridge, where the emergency services will expect to look for it in the event of being called to your home. They will be alerted to your membership of the scheme by two labels which are unique to the scheme. One is fixed to the back of the front door (or the door most used to access the premises), and the second is attached to the door of the fridge.

For more information please contact us locally on 0845 833 9513

Bottles are available at Bradford on Avon Health Centre


Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website