The spread of COVID-19 virus has undoubtedly caused much alarm and widespread fear especially since it has spread beyond just returned travellers. But while many Aussies are lost on the true focus of health prevention and are stockpiling toilet paper, your local family Doctor has a much graver message you need to take on board.
That’s right! Please don’t turn up. The general truth is, much like any flu and virus season, invariably the attendance of a person with a virus simply creates more broader risk than any benefit the patient gains by attending in the flesh for a consult.
Your symptoms are (on average) likely to be mild to moderate and, provided you are healthy and not of any age fit for retirement or childcare, then you are likely to be able to fight it off without any medical assistance or support. There are, afterall, no medications to cure viruses. Nope! Not antibiotics (sorry…). Staying home, isolating and resting is your best path of action.
In the case of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), testing has become more paramount in order to get some proper statistics and learn more about this uncertain disease. You do not need to see your GP to be told you need a test. This can be determined over a phone consult or telehealth. Minimise any necessary out-of-house travel as much as possible and avoid the GP step altogether. By doing this you are not only sparing the health of others in the waiting room, but also your friendly Doc who sincerely wishes to remain as a helping hand for as long as possible! (They don’t even have access to the appropriate protective masks, gowns and testing equipment so they cannot protect themselves adequately. Appropriate distribution of said equipment to protect GPs during consults is a very sore point for most Australian GPs right now who want to be more useful but are now severely at personal risk of becoming unwell… ).
The advice to returned travellers and with now greater exposure sources are occurring such as public shopping centres, nursing homes etc. the most basic advice is presently this:
- If you are unwell and think you might have coronavirus from a known contact with someone who is positive then GO TO THE FEVER CLINIC AT THE LOCAL HOSPITAL (Only there and nowhere else. Toilet paper shopping can wait!!! – ISOLATE). *some hospitals may not have a fever clinic.
- If you are unwell and are a returned traveller from ANYWHERE, the PLEASE call your local Doctor BEFORE turning up. They will advise as appropriate to your personal situation. You will highly likely need testing and this can be arranged without seeing your Doctor. Or, go to the fever clinic at the local hospital (if there is one).
- If you are well and a returned traveller from ANYWHERE, please phone your local Doctor to discuss your risk. DO NOT SHOW UP TO DISCUSS (as you still may be incubating and contagious prior to showing symptoms).
- Living with someone who has been told to self isolate – THIS COULD MEAN YOU ALSO NEED TO ISOLATE – CALL YOUR DOCTOR.
- Clearance certificates – CALL YOUR DOCTOR as most cases are tricky and need to be personalised.
- IF IN DOUBT, SELF ISOLATE AND QUARANTINE YOURSELF, AND CALL YOUR DOCTOR.
Being overly cautious cannot be overstated. As the Influenza (flu) season encroaches, it is vital that personal hygiene and self-isolation at home is paramount. Consider not just your own personal household contacts, your colleagues but also your surrounding community.
And please, have a flu shot!
Note: advice is general in nature and based off a personal GP’s experience in South-East Queensland at the time of writing. Subject to change. If in doubt, seek personalised medical advice preferably OVER PHONE or TELEHEALTH. **charges may apply as Medicare has also yet to fund the platform of telehealth and phone consults across Australia for this.
#getittogethermedicare #raiserebates #unfreezeplease
Ps. If you want to see what our Director Dr Jamie was thinking before work today, checkout her post on our VirtueVax Facebook Page here.
PPS. There are many platforms out there for telehealth. VirtueVax recommends interested patients sign up through the MedicRelief app and search their local GP. Encouraging your local GP to also sign up on the platform means you can both schedule a suitable chat time and keep your health relationship with the person who knows you best! Find the app here: www.medicrelief.com