Witton Medical Centre

Witton Medical Centre, 29-31 Preston Old Road, Blackburn BB2 2SU
Telephone 01254 617941

Self Help

Self Help for Minor Ailments

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

Further good information can be obtained from the following web sites:-

NHS Direct Patient uk


Firstly a note on these commonly prescribed and powerful medicines. They only work on bacteria and are without effect on viruses. Unfortunately, this means that the common infections like coughs, colds and flu will not be helped by them at all.

The correct treatments are the simple remedies outlined here and we only use antibiotics when they fail and we suspect that there is a secondary bacterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics may lead to their not working in future and more complications like thrush, skin rashes, allergy, etc.

Coughs and Colds

Despite years of medical research, there is still no cure for the common cold. The symptoms of headache and sore throat can be relieved by medicines bought from the chemist such as paracetamol. A tickly cough associated with a cold may be helped by a decongestant to dry up the nasal catarrh.


Earache is often associated with a cold, particularly in children. If the pain lasts for more than several hours, then please arrange to bring the child to the next surgery.

Sore Throat

When a sore throat is associated with a cold it is not likely to be helped by antibiotics as the infection will be caused by a virus against which antibiotics are not effective. A sore throat which persists for more than three days without any cold symptoms, particularly if associated with a fever, may require treatment from a doctor.


Headaches are often associated with any illness causing a raised temperature eg sore throat, ear infection and may be treated symptomatically with paracetamol.

If the headache is associated with vomiting and dislike of light or is severe and persistent for more than 24 hours, even without any other symptoms, please contact the surgery for advice.

Diarrhoea and Sickness

Diarrhoea and sickness may be due to contaminated food or drink but in young children is often caused by a virus. At the first onset of symptoms stop all solid food and milk and give frequent small drinks of watery fluids such as squash, lemonade, diluted fruit juice, etc. for 24 hours. Rehidrat or Dioralyte can be bought from the chemist and help to reduce the loss of body chemicals and dehydration.

Breast feeding should be continued, Bottle feeding can be reintroduced after 24 hours. Reintroduce solid food gradually eg dry toast, jacket potato, yoghurt. If sickness and diarrhoea persist for more than 24 -48 hours, you should seek medical advice.

If abdominal pain is a feature of the illness, particularly if it persists in between episodes of vomiting or diarrhoea, the the doctor should be contacted for advice.


Fever (raised temperature) is very common in young children with a number of ailments.

Paracetamol (Calpol/Disprol) can be given four to six hourly in the appropriate doses according to the child’s age. Tepid sponging may also be necessary. Take off the child’s clothes and lay him/her on a towel in a warm place. Sponge him/her all over with tepid water and then pat dry with a towel. Repeat as often as necessary until the child’s temperature returns to normal.

Give you child plenty of cool drinks as fluid is lost with fever. If he is unwilling to drink, encourage small amounts from a favourite cup. You will not make your child worse if you take him in a pram or car to see the doctor.


Hayfever can be distressing and medical treatment can often help. Keep doors and windows shut when the grass is being cut.


These are the fine little string-like worms which can be seen in the motions or suspected if there is scratching around the anus, especially when it is warm in bed at night. It is spread by infected fingers being put into the mouth. A simple oral remedy is available from the pharmacy.

Head Lice

These creatures are not a sign of poor personal hygiene. They are found in clean hair as often as dirty hair. The condition is spread by head-to-head contact. A medicated head lotion may be obtained from the chemist. If is important to treat all members of the family and schools should be notified.

Verrucae and Warts

This is another viral infection. They are common in children and will, in time, disapper completely without treatment. They can be treated using “wart paints” available at the chemist and applied daily. If they persist they can be frozen at the surgery. Please ask at reception for details.

First Aid Techniques

Burns and Scalds

Run cold water over the affected area until the pain eases; this may take 10 minutes in severe cases. If there is much blistering the doctor should be consulted.


It should be remembered that sunbathing is bad for the skin and that children are particularly susceptible to the harmful rays of the sun. Cool the skin with cold water and apply calamine lotion. Paracetamol will help the pain and an antihistamine such as Piriton will reduce the reaction.

Minor Cuts and Grazes

Wash the wound thoroughly with warm water and a little soap. To stop bleeding apply firm pressure to the wound for five minutes with a clean handkerchief or dressing. Cover with a clean dry dressing.

Insect Bites and Stings

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

Sprains and Strains

A A twisted ankle or knee is often more painful the next day than immediately after the injury. Swelling can be minimised by resting the affected limb and intermittently applying a cold compress eg packet of frozen peas wrapped in a towel.


Sit on 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. Applying ice may also help. If symptoms persist consult your doctor.

You may also be interested in the minor ailments scheme where you can seek the help of a pharmacist. See information on this web site by clicking here.


If you have visited specified areas listed by public health England in the last 14 days and have symptoms of respiratory illness please stay indoors and avoid contact with others. Please telephone 111 for further advice. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19