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Increasing numbers of us are opting to live at home for longer in order to find our feet. Constantly rising rental and property prices and static rates of pay mean that life is less affordable in general and we have to stay home in order to generate the amount of money that we need to move out. Now, there are various problems that we may face that come hand in hand with living at home for a longer period of time than we may have anticipated. But one that isn’t commonly addressed is the fact that when we live at home, many of us tend to rely on our parents to tell us when we do and don’t need to seek professional medical help.
We’ll book an appointment in to see the doctor when a parent has nagged us that we need to be seen. We suck things up and get on with a cold rather than calling in sick when we’re told by a parent that it’s not that serious. When we are unsure what our symptoms might mean, we consult a parent for their opinion. So, when we do eventually move out and live independently, many of us feel a little lost and naive and are relatively unsure as to whether we should be treating our own negative signs of health or booking in to see a medical professional. But not to worry. We’re here to help! Here’s how you can figure out whether you should see a doctor or not!
Treating Yourself at Home
There are various health issues that you really can tackle at home. This can save you the time and effort of visiting a doctor and can prove effective, alleviating your systems and making you more comfortable. Some common conditions to treat yourself include:
- Back pain – of course, you should see your doctor if back pain is severe or if it is a direct result of an accident or injury that you haven’t had seen to yet. However, if it is chronic back pain that cannot really be treated, care should be taken at home. Consider taking ibuprofen or paracetamol as advised by the packet’s instructions during flare ups. This will provide you with pain relief. You can also create cold compress packs and place them on the affected area. Alternatively, heat packs that can be purchased from pharmacies may prove effective. Provide yourself with support when sitting or lying down by placing pillows and cushions in various areas that relieve pressure on your back – this may take a process of trial and error until you find something comfortable.
- Heartburn – if you haven’t experienced heartburn before and experience it out of the blue, you may feel concerned. It is essentially acid reflux which creates a burning or “blocked” sensation in your chest area. Luckily, symptoms can be eased with over the counter products like Zantac. You can also reduce your susceptibility to heartburn by taking measures such as losing weight, stopping smoking, cutting down alcohol consumption, and avoiding food and drink that causes heartburn to flare up.
- Constipation – constipation can often be the result of a poor diet. Try to incorporate more fibre filled foods into your diet, such as fruit, vegetables, wholemeal bread, whole wheat pasta, oats, nuts, and seeds.
- Minor allergic reactions – minor allergic reactions can cause dermatitis, which is inflamed skin. If you know what causes your reactions, avoid this. You can then take over the counter allergy tablets according to their printed instructions.
Seeing a General Practitioner
While you can treat some conditions independently, there are many symptoms that should encourage you to see a general practitioner at your local doctors surgery. If you feel you have ongoing problems, are experiencing symptoms that make your day to day life uncomfortable or difficult, or have some sort of minor injury, book an appointment as soon as possible. Your doctor will then be able to survey your situation, identify any problems, and either write out a prescription to help treat you, or refer you on to further specialist consultation and treatment if necessary.
Calling Emergency Services
There are, unfortunately, situations where you may find that you need to contact emergency services. It is extremely important that you know when is the appropriate time to call these professionals, as you don’t want to waste their time needlessly when someone else may be in dire need of their attention and assistance. So, when should you call emergency services? Here are a few situations that should trigger this call. They are generally life threatening emergencies – put simply, you should only call an ambulance if you feel that someone is in severe danger and facing a life threatening condition.
- Loss of Consciousness – if someone is unconscious, you should call an ambulance. It generally takes something pretty serious to knock someone out or for them to pass out.
- An acute confused state – if someone doesn’t appear to know what they are doing, who they are, or where they are, or if they are delirious and confused, you need to call an ambulance. They could pose a threat to themselves and others.
- Multiple fits – if someone has fits that are prolonged, don’t stop, or has one fit after another, you need to call for help.
- Chest pain – chest pain can be indicative of serious cardiovascular conditions. They need to be tackled as quickly as possible.
- Breathing difficulties – an inability to breath can cause major problems and can even prove fatal if your condition worsens.
- Bleeding that cannot be stopped – bleeding needs to be stemmed. Emergency services will be able to advise on how to do this while dispatching help.
- Severe allergic reactions – these can cause an inability to breathe and other complications. Call help immediately.
- Severe burns or scalds – these need to be treated immediately to combat infection and further complications.
Of course, the list of conditions and situations that we have listed isn’t entirely inclusive. But hopefully, we have managed to cover some common concerns and have helped to guide you on the right track when it comes to determining whether you need to reach out to a medical professional or not!