Want a GP appointment in December? Join the queue. Or swot up on these (doctor-approved) DIY first-aid cures…


Description: 3 health problems you can fix yourself


A minor burn

We’re talking about the small, blistery kind you get from hot hair straighteners, not one that covers a large area or is peeling. Run it under cold water for at least ten minutes (but no ice, as this can damage skin), says Dr. Meng Aw-Yong, medical advisor for St John Ambulance. “No water? Use milk (the protein and fat are soothing) or a cold can. If it’s blistered, cover it with cling film (it’s virtually sterlie and only sticks to itself), a clean plastic bag or a non-fluffy pad.”

A stomach bug

The fix depends on, erm, which end the problem’s at. If you’re vomiting, don’t ingest anything for four to six hours. “Your stomach is irritated, and even water can make it spasm,” says Dr. Marie Savard, author of How To Save Your Own Life. Then try water or flat ginger beer (“the sugars are easily digestible and ginger helps nausea”), before trying plain carbs, like crackers, or protein, like grilled chicken. If you have diarrhoea, sip fluids and once you’ve been episode-free for half a day, try a little food, but avoid too much fibre. If you have vomiting and diarrhoea, hydration is key. Get rehydration salts from the chemist, or sip water or soft drinks. If you’re not better in 24 hours, see your GP.

Cold or flu symptoms

Don’t believe ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’, says Dr. Michael Roizen, author of You: The Owner’s Manual – An Insider’s Guide To The Body That Will Make You Healthier And Younger. What does help? Chicken soup. “The protein helps your body repair, and the iron and zinc supports the immune system,” says nutritionist Dr. Carina Norris. “Plus, if there’s garlic, this has anti-viral effects.” For a funny nose, try an antihistamine like Claritin for day; for sinus pressure, try Benadryl at night. For a sore throat, Dr. Roizen suggests honey. A fever or aches? Take ibuprofen and go to bed with a good magazine. Oh, look: you already have one!

but wait! this stuff does need a doctor

  1. The worst headache of your life

It may be a migraine, but see your GP if the pain is totally debiliating or comes with a fever and a stiff neck.

  1. An STD

If you notice a bump, itching, burning or an unusual discharge, a promopt diagnosis may save fertility problems in the future.

  1. A urinary tract infection

Cranberry juice won’t fix it. “If you feel burning when you pee, notice blood in your urine and have a temperature, see your GP sooner rather than later,” says GLAMOUR GP Dr. Rini Chatterjee.

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