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Choosing the right food for good health is very important. Eating a good balance of food, taking regular exercise and not smoking gives the best chance of living a fit and healthy life. If you have a medical condition please check with your doctor before altering you diet. Remember eating well is about balance. For example, we do need fat in our diet but not too much!
Healthy Eating can help prevent many illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, constipation, bowel trouble and tooth decay;
* Avoid Sugary food
* Avoid fatty foods
* Do not add salt to your food
* Eat more fibre
* Drink less alcohol
Alcohol in small amounts does not harm you but if it is more than a small amount on a regular basis you may be damaging your health. Men should drink no more than 21 units per week and women should drink no more than 14 units per week. A unit is typically half a pint of beer, larger or cider, a single measure of spirits, a standard glass of wine or a small glass of sherry.
Exercise need not mean going to the gym twice a week or taking up long distance running. Simply keeping active, walking more, using the stairs, gardening or swimming are all good way of generally increasing the amount of energy you use and will help to give you a sense of well being.
Self Help for Common Ailments and Minor Accidents
Lots of common ailments and minor accidents can be dealt with safely at home. This information will help you decide when you need to seek medical help or what you can safely treat yourself. Many minor ailments are treated with the use of a cold compress; always keep a stock of ice in the freezer to be able to prepare one. Be sensible, ask for advice and if in doubt consult your doctor.
Back pain - if the pain has been caused by lifting or twisting take aspirin or paracetamol which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve inflammation. Ask your pharmacist about stronger painkilling medicines or rubs. See your doctor if the pain persists for more than a few days to get advice about gentle exercise, stronger drugs or the need for a supportive corset.
Burns and Scalds - any burn or scald needs immediate action. For minor burns or scalds, remove any jewellery or clothing that may become a problem if swelling occurs. Cool the affected area with cold water for at least 10 minutes then cover with a light non-fluffy dressing. Do not burst blister and do not put on cream or ointments. If the burn is broken cool the area and seek urgent medical attention.
Sunburn - care should be taken at all times to avoid over-exposure to the sun particularly with children. Treat sunburn as other burns applying cold water to remove the heat. Calamine lotion (dabbed not rubbed) will relieve the irritation whilst paracetamol will also help.
Insect bites and stings - First, remove bee stings with tweezers by gripping the base of the string nearest the skin to avoid squeezing the poison sac and apply a cold compress. If stung in the mouth, suck on an ice cube or sip cold water and seek immediate medical attention. Always seek medical attention if someone has an allergy to bites and stings, the sting cannot be removed, the area around the sting becomes inflamed or someone experiences shortness of breath of fever.
Minor cuts and grazes - press the wound with a clean fabric pad for a few minutes to stop the bleeding and elevate the limb for a cut on the arm or leg. Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and a little water and cover with a clean dry dressing or plaster.
Sprains, strains and bruises - first apply an ice compress for 15 - 30minutes to reduce any swelling. Apply a crepe bandage firmly and give the sprain plenty of rest in an elevated position until all the discomfort and swelling has gone, if the limb is not rested, further pain and swelling will occur and recovery will take longer.
Nose bleeds - sit in a chair (leaning forward with your mouth open) and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes when the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks for 24 hours. If symptoms persist consult your doctor.
Colds - unfortunately there is still no cure for the common cold. The cold will run its course but the symptoms can be alleviated by drinking more fluids, resting and taking paracetamol or aspirin for a headache or fever. There are lots of cold treatments available from your pharmacist and some are suitable for children.
Head lice - these creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. They do not survive once removed the root of the hair. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from your pharmacist without prescription.
Gastroenteritis - this is as description of a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomach ache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed, medicines are often vomited up immediately. The stomach and bowels should be rested. In older patients sips of plain water may suffice but babies and toddlers need special rehydration fluids which are available from the pharmacist. If sickness or diarrhoea persists contact a doctor.
Diarrhoea - In adults, diarrhoea is usually caused by virus infections and is therefore unable to be treated directly. Holiday diarrhoea is often due to bacteria. In both above cases, consult a doctor if the symptoms persist for more than 48 hours. Babies and young children need careful attention. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding only a solution of boiled water with a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to the pint. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult a doctor