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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Simple measures

I've noticed quite alot of people complaining of fevers, dribbling noses and sore throats. They come to my A&E department, and sometimes I want to say to them "Is this an Accident? Or an Emergency?". I would also like to tell them that most of these problems will go away in a few days with simple measures - lots of fluids, lots of rest, lots of fresh air.

Some of these people have not even tried anything at all before coming to hospital...and it is such of waste of their time to wait for hours to see a doctor, only to be sent home again with a prescription for over-the-counter drugs (and the prescription cost more than the medicines do!). We don't give them antibiotics in the UK - I know in Singapore, doctors like to hand out antibiotics like sweeties...but people really pester them for antibiotics and won't be satisfied otherwise.

Most of these flus, coughs, colds and whatnot tend to be viral infections rather than bacterial infections - and for those of you who studied biology in secondary school, you'd know that antibiotics only really work on bacteria and have no effect on virii. And there's a danger in using antibiotics willy-nilly.

So here are some ideas that everyone should try out first before seeing a doctor for 'antibiotics'.

Soluble paracetamol is not only good for sore throats (gargle it and swallow!), but it brings down fever and takes away headache. Give it an extra kick - dissolve it in coffee. Soluble aspirin is also good for sore throats and headaches, but it doesn't do much for fever.

For those of you with dribbling noses and watery eyes, try using some antihistamines - you can buy them over the counter. Lots of different brands, all of them work in the same way, but if I were you I'd ask for the non-drowsy type so that you can still function.

And...try simple linctus (ie. cough syrup) for coughs.


So try these measures before heading for the GPs and the A&E, okay?



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