Integrated Care Partnership

Treatment of Common Ailments

Coughs and Colds

A cold is a mild viral infectiion of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and a cough. Usually it’s a self limiting infection – this means it gets better by itself without the need for treatment.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year.

For most people a cold will get better on its own within a week of symptoms starting – but always remember to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. However, there are treatments that can help ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable such as steam inhalations, vapour rubs, gargles and herbal sweets/lozenges. These are all available from your pharmacy.
Children under 1 year – contact your GP if :

  • there is a high temperature/fever
  • green or yellow mucus from the nose longer than 1/2 weeks
  • baby cries continually
  • will not/does not feed


Diarrhoea is passing loose or watery faeces (stools) more than three times a day. It affects almost everyone form time to time and is usually nothing to worry about. Common causes in both adults and children is gastroenteritis, an infection of the bowel, or food poisoning (eating food that has gone off) The diarrhoea often goes away without treatment after a few days because the immune system automatically fights the infection.
Symptoms can be eased by drinking lots of fluids.Take small, frequent sips of water. Avoid fruit juice and fizzy drinks. Ask you pharmacist for advice on taking an oral rehydration solution.
It is especially important that babies and young children do not become dehydrated. Contact your GP immediately if your child shows any of the following symptoms:

  • appearing to get more unwel
  • being irritable or drowsy
  • passing urine infrequently
  • pale of mottled skin
  • cold hands and feet
  • six or more episodes of diarrhoea in 24 hours

Burns and Scalds

Burns are judged by their seriousness:
Superficial burn(1st degree): the damage is on the surface and the skin is red and mildly painful
Partial thickness burn(2nd degree): the damage has gone deeper and causes blistering. The skin is very painful.
Full thickness burn(3rd degree): the damage has gone through all of the flesh. The skin is white or charred black and less painful(or even completely numb)
Immediately cool down smaller affected areas of skin under the cold tap or with ice, and larger areas under the shower or bath/basin. Burns heal better open to the air so do not cover with bandage, plaster or creams. Leave any blisters intact, but if skin broken, cover with a sterile bandage.

Seek advice from your pharmacist if you are not sure how serious your burn or scald is.