There is no problem with self-diagnosis and self-treatment as long as you can recognise situations where you should seek professional help. Use your common sense – if someone appears to be very ill, do not delay seeing a health professional.
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The following are some of the symptoms that require prompt attention from a doctor.
• Prolonged severe pain, including constant head pain (irrespective of whether the pain has resulted from injury or not).
• High fever of over 39°C/102°F (invest in a digital thermometer – they are easy to use and read).
• Prolonged vomiting and diarrhoea (especially in small children).
• Marked changes in normal behaviour (especially in small children and the elderly).
You should also seek professional medical help if:
• you are unsure of the treatment
• you are concerned about any symptoms, even those that seem benign
• you are not getting better in spite of the treatment: you should normally expect an improvement within a few hours to a few days, depending on the problem
• the condition is long-standing or a complex one with many symptoms.
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