Coronavirus COVID-19 – caring for everyone
We are currently experiencing a worldwide pandemic with Coronavirus COVID-19, a new strain of an old virus. Because it is new, we do not have personal or herd immunity as a community, and it can spread fast and cause disease, which is usually mild, but sometimes severe.
The most common symptoms are mild, if any, and comprise:
· Shortness of breath
But it can cause a runny nose, sore throat, headache, aches and pains and otherwise seem very similar to the common cold or the flu.
In some people, it can cause breathing difficulties, requiring hospitalisation and respiratory support and uncommonly, it can cause death, especially in the elderly and those with other diseases (co-morbidities) or immunosuppression.
How do I know if I have coronavirus?
Because the symptoms can be similar to a cold or the flu, and sometimes there are no symptoms at all, the only way to know for sure is to have tests for it with your doctor or at a hospital. These tests take several days to come back, by which time you could have spread the virus widely if you go about your usual activities. So we are asking everyone who is at risk to self-isolate, that is, to stay at home and minimise your contact with other people, unless you need medical support.
Who is at high risk?
· People who have travelled overseas in the last few weeks
· People who have been exposed to the virus through close contacts (family or friends)
· People who have symptoms of the disease
We are asking these people to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days, to slow the spread of the disease so we can better manage those who are sick in our hospitals and medical centres.
What can I do to help myself?
· Care deeply for yourself, each and every day.
· Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, get good quality sleep, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol or take other drugs, minimise your intake of sugar and other processed carbohydrates, exercise regularly and manage your stress levels by getting support as you need it.
· Practise hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after touching anything.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects.
· If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue and dispose of it immediately in the bin, or cough into your elbow, not your hand.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Stay home if you are sick.
How can I help everyone else?
Here at our office we care for ourselves and each other deeply.
None of us have been overseas this year. If we get sick, we stay at home until we are well.
Because we care for ourselves, so that we can care for you, we are asking you to do the same, so that together we can care for everyone.
BEFORE coming in, please:
· Let us know if you have been overseas in the last few weeks. If you have, we will ask you to postpone any non-urgent appointments for two weeks.
· Let us know if you are sick in any way. Depending on the nature of the symptoms and the urgency of your condition, doctor will decide whether you should come in or not. She may schedule time to see you out of hours, to minimise your contact with other patients.
· Let us know if any of your close contacts (family members or friends) are sick. The virus is most contagious in the early stages, sometimes before you develop any symptoms at all, so it is important that we support each other by being responsible and minimising our contact with others if there is any risk of us spreading the disease.
For more information, you can look at the NSW Health website.
Thank you for your understanding and support. Please contact our office on 02 6687 2433 if you have any questions at all. Call us first before coming in if you are unsure of what to do and we will do everything we can to support you. Together, we can care for everyone.
With warm regards,
Dr Anne Malatt
This information is provided to inform and support and is not a substitute for medical advice with your own doctor. Please consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health.