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General Health Information

Moles 

This page is designed to give information about Malignant Melanoma.

All moles start life as benign or non-cancerous. Unfortunately some moles can change into a type of skin cancer called Malignant Melanoma.

This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer affecting mainly the young and it is essential to catch it early. It is very much related to skin fairness and sun exposure. This can be seen with the fact that it is 5-10times more common in Australia than the UK. Prevention is avoidance of burning in the sun and wearing appropriate clothing with high factor sun cream. Symptoms may include itching or bleeding.

  (1)

  (2)

 

Follow these simple rules when looking at a mole (the ABCDE)

 A- asymmetry

it is not the same on both sides (1&2 above) 

 B- borders

it has irregular edges (1&2) 

 C- colour

it has varying colours (1&2) 

 D- diameter

it measures more than 0.5cm (1&2) 

 E- elevation

it is not flat (1) 

 

If you think you may have a suspicious mole contact your GP for an opinion.

Fever in a Child 

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CHILD WITH A TEMPERATURE

  • A child develops a temperature in response to an infection.
  • Most childhood infections are caused by viruses. Viral infections do not get better with antibiotics.
  • A few children, usually under five years old, will have a convulsion with a high temperature. The child suddenly shakes all over and then becomes very still.
  • This information is designed to help you bring your child’s temperature down, to avoid a convulsion, and make him or her feel better.
  1. If your child feels hot and appears unwell, take his or her temperature with a thermometer or fever scan. The normal temperature is 37.5 degrees C, If the temperature is raised (or if you do not have a thermometer, but think your child has a temperature) try to lower it as follows:
  2. Give your child some paracetamol, Calpol or Disprol. Give the higher recommended dose.
  3. Dress your child in cool clothes, for example a tee shirt and shorts. Heat is lost through a child’s head so leave it uncovered.
  4. Give your child plenty of cool drinks, as fluid is lost with a fever. If he is unwilling to drink, encourage small amounts from a favourite cup.
  5. Sponging your child, especially the head, with tepid water and a cool flannel, will help to bring the temperature down making the child feel better.
  6. Repeat the dose of paracetamol every four hours if necessary. Do not give more than the maximum total dose in 24hrs.
  7. You can also use ibuprofen (Nurofen/Calpofen) unless they have asthma or are known to be allergic to it. This can either be used with or in-between the paracetamol to help bring the temperature down.
  8. If your child does not improve after steps 1-7 of the above advice call the surgery or out of hours duty doctor service.
  9. You will not make your child worse if you take him in a pram or a car to see the doctor. Usually the fresh air makes feverish children feel better.
  10. A child with a fever is likely to be restless at night. Offer cool drinks and sponge his head if he wakes in the night.

Hay Fever

What is hay fever?

Hay fever (also called seasonal allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergy to pollens or moulds. Grass pollen is the most common cause (May to July). Less common causes are tree pollens (March to May), and moulds (July to September).

Who gets hay fever?

At least 1 in 10 people in the UK have hay fever. It usually first develops before the age of 20. Symptoms return for a season each year, but it eventually goes away or improves in many cases.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

  • Common symptoms are a runny and itchy nose, blocked nose, sneezing, itchy and watery red eyes, and sore throat. Sometimes only nose symptoms, or only eye symptoms occur.
  • Less common symptoms are loss of smell, facial pains, sweats, and headache.
  • Asthma symptoms such as wheeze and breathlessness may get worse if you have asthma. Some people have asthma symptoms only during the hay fever season.

Will it help if I avoid pollen?

It is impossible to totally avoid pollen. However, symptoms tend to be less severe if you reduce your exposure to pollen. The pollen count is often given with TV, radio, internet, or newspaper weather forecasts. The following may help when the pollen count is high.

  • Stay indoors as much as possible, and keep windows and doors shut.
  • Avoid cutting grass, large grassy places, and camping.
  • Shower and wash your hair after being outdoors. Especially after going to the countryside.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when your are out.
  • Bring in washing, and close windows before the evening when pollen falls as the air cools.
  • Keep car windows closed, and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents in your car.

What are the treatment options for hay fever?

Antihistamine tablets or liquid medicines 
Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine. A dose usually works within an hour or so to ease symptoms. Therefore, they can be taken 'as required' if symptoms are mild, or come and go. You can also take antihistamines regularly if you have symptoms every day.

Antihistamines ease most of the symptoms, but may not be so good at clearing a blocked nose (nasal congestion). There are several brands of antihistamines which you can buy at pharmacies or get on prescription. Older brands such as chlorpheniramine (Piriton) work well, but make some people drowsy. Newer brands tend to cause less drowsiness. Ask the pharmacist for advice.

A steroid nose spray is usually the most effective treatment for all the nose symptoms (itch, sneezing, watering, and blocked nose). It works by reducing inflammation in the nose. It takes several days for a steroid spray to build up to its full effect. Therefore, you will not have immediate relief of symptoms when you first start it. (It is best to start taking it a week before the hay fever season begins if you know that you have hay fever.) You need to take it each day over the hay fever season to keep symptoms away. There are several brands which you can buy at pharmacies, or get on prescription. Steroid nose sprays also tend to ease eye symptoms. It is not clear how they help the eye symptoms - but they do!

Eye drops 
If necessary, you can use eye drops in addition to other treatments.

Treatment for severe symptoms 
Rarely, a short course of steroid tablets is prescribed. For example, to clear symptoms for students sitting exams who have severe symptoms which are not eased by other treatments. Steroids work well to reduce inflammation. A short course is usually safe. However, you should not take steroid tablets for long periods to treat hay fever, as serious side-effects may develop.

Asthma and hay fever 
If you develop asthma symptoms during the hay fever season you may be prescribed an inhaler. If you already have asthma, your asthma may become worse in the hay fever season. You may need an increase in the dose of your usual inhalers (or other treatment that you take for asthma).

Follow up 
Treatment works well in most cases. Tell your doctor if symptoms persist, despite treatment. A change in treatment, or an alteration in the dose of a current treatment may be an option to ease symptoms which persist.



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