To best protect yourself against coronavirus, lifestyle and dietary measures are extremely important. Ensure that you exercise daily (this can also be undertaken indoors) and that your intake is varied and nutritious, including fresh foods rich in anti-oxidants. For further useful tips about optimising your physical and mental health during this time, please click here.
Should you develop symptoms of potential coronavirus infection, most people should adopt self-care initially. A high proportion of cases are mild and self-limiting. Simple rest, PARACETAMOL and fluids may be all that is required, with full recovery after 7-10 days. Please follow the government’s instructions regarding self and household isolation which can be found here. If showing symptoms, you may wish to go online to purchase a pulse oximeter. This instrument measures blood oxygen levels and will assist the doctor in managing your care remotely. People with pre-existing health conditions should ensure that they continue their medications and observe any advice that has been provided as a result of health checks and chronic disease reviews.
People with more severe coronavirus symptoms and/or significant additional illness (such as respiratory disease) at COVID-19 onset should seek early advice. In some cases, additional measures should be taken, and the doctor at The Walcote Practice is able to advise accordingly.
A minority of patients may progress to become more breathless after the first 5-7 days of the COVID-19 illness and may require additional support such as oxygen. Please contact us should you be concerned that symptoms are progressing. If you are very concerned and do not hear back from us quickly, please phone 111 or dial 999 if very unwell.
The Walcote Practice has received many requests for private coronavirus testing. If you follow the pragmatic measures detailed above, testing should not be necessary. In mild cases, the disease is usually self-limiting and normal activities can be resumed if you are feeling well after the seven days of recommended self-isolation since the onset of your own symptoms. Those who feel unwell beyond this point might continue to be infective and should seek medical advice – testing may also be required.
We offer a coronavirus test for active viral infection, a COVID-19 PCR RNA swab test, which detects active viral infection in the acute symptomatic phase. This is the same test which is currently being provided to hospital patients and to some key workers. This test is offered remotely to selected patients with active symptoms, after appropriate telephone consultation with a GP. This may be of interest to those in critical roles or who need to continue caring for frail or elderly relatives.
We are pleased to also offer COVID-19 antibody testing (Abbott or Siemens, IVD CE marked). The analysis has been rigorously reviewed and is held to be of high sensitivity (99.7-100%) and specificity for the IgG antibody which is associated with prior exposure and subsequent immune response to the virus. These antibodies are to be reliably detected 21 days from the onset of symptoms. Once IgG positivity has been confirmed, it is possible that lasting immunity to COVID-19 may be achieved, however this requires longer-term scientific analysis. We hope that this will be of particular use to key workers and those in critical roles, and that it will also help to inform the public health response to the pandemic.
In order to comply with public health social distancing advice, the antibody test can be sent to you by post to be administered by home capillary sampling, with clear instructions. The sample is then returned to our laboratory using the enclosed envelope. Alternatively, venous sampling can be conducted at the surgery (with pre-screening) should attendance be necessary for another reason. Once received by the lab, we have been advised of a 24hr turnaround time. You will then be emailed with your result.
Should you have any requirements relating to your general health, or specifically to coronavirus infection, we remain available to you. To arrange an appointment with one of our doctors please call 01962 828715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At-risk patients such as those on immunosuppressants including steroids, current cancer treatment or without spleens please ring and book a strategic telephone/video consultation so that we can provide bespoke advice and discuss specific treatment options with you.
We wish you and your families all the very best at this difficult time. Take care.