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Most acute cases caused by respiratory virus.


  • Rest at home including voice rest (best treatment).

  • Avoid talking, use voice sparingly (hoarseness lasts 3–14 d).

  • Use warm sialogogues (e.g. hot lemon drinks).

  • Avoid whispering.

  • Drink ample fluids, especially water.

  • Avoid smoking and passive smoke.

  • Use steam inhalations (5 mins tds).

  • Humidity helps, esp. hot steamy showers.

  • Use cough suppressants, esp. mucolytic agents.

  • Use simple analgesics, e.g. paracetamol or aspirin.


Lead poisoning


All Australians should have a blood level <10 mcg/dL. Levels above this are associated with adverse nevrocognitive defects.


Children at risk of elevated blood lead:


  • aged 9–48 mths living in or visiting older houses with peeling paint

  • those with pica

  • those living in lead-contaminated areas (e.g. heavy traffic, battery breaking yards)


Symptoms include:


  • bad taste in mouth

  • lethargy/fatigue

  • musculoskeletal aches and pains

  • abdominal discomfort

  • irritability/abnormal behaviour

  • bowel disturbances


Consider lead toxicity in children presenting with developmental delay or behaviour problems and in those with unexplained iron-deficiency anaemia. Active management needed if blood level is >40 mcg/dL (15 g/dL). Treatment involves chelation with Calcium Disodium Edetate, succimer or dimercaprol in hospital. Penicillamine or succimer are oral preparations which can be used.


Leg pain

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table L1

Pain in the leg: diagnostic strategy model


Spinal causes of leg pain


Problems originating from the spine are an important, yet at times complex, cause of pain in the leg. Important causes are:


  • nerve root (radicular) pain from direct pressure, esp. sciatica (L4–S3)

  • referred pain from:

    • disc pressure on tissues in front of the spinal cord

    • apophyseal joints

    • sacroiliac joints

  • spinal canal stenosis causing claudication


Vascular causes of leg pain

Occlusive arterial disease
Acute lower limb ischaemia

Sudden occlusion whether by embolism or thrombosis is a dramatic event which requires immediate diagnosis and management to save the limb.

++ Signs and symptoms—the 6 Ps

  • Pain

  • Pulselessness

  • Pallor

  • Paralysis

  • Paraesthesia or numbness

  • ‘Perishing’ cold

++ Management of acute ischaemia

Golden rules: Occlusion is usually reversible if treated ...

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