Forum: Don't downplay coughs and seek medical attention

With more than 10 clusters emerging and unlinked community cases rising, it is disheartening to read from daily Ministry of Health (MOH) case reports that several people who experienced cough symptoms failed to seek medical treatment or report to MOH when contacted. There were five such cases out of 13 on Tuesday alone.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore's Covid-19 community case numbers can go either way over the next few weeks (Covid-19 cases put Singapore on knife-edge: Wong, May 12).

Why are people with classic Covid-19 symptoms like cough still not seeing doctors or not reporting to MOH when under quarantine?

I would hazard one guess: perhaps smokers are so used to their smoker's cough that they disregard what they have been experiencing on a daily basis, even though their coughs could very well be due to Covid-19 infection.

The World Health Organisation cautioned that smokers are 11/2 times more likely to get severe Covid-19. It is thus in the interest of smokers - and the entire nation - not to assume coughs to be just regular smoker's cough.

Looking at the five cases on Tuesday, three cases were fully vaccinated while one case had received the first vaccine shot.

Were the three who had completed the full vaccine regimen dismissing their coughs, assuming that they were now "fully protected"?

MOH should remind smokers and the fully vaccinated not to downplay their coughs and to seek medical attention.

Vaccinated individuals should be reminded that vaccines are not 100 per cent effective, and that they should report coughs and other flu-like symptoms that appear, say, more than three days after vaccination, to a doctor. This can be printed on the vaccination card, in addition to information on vaccine side effects.

It is better to be safe than sorry in this unrelenting pandemic, especially in the face of more community infections due to the highly contagious variants.

Liu I-Chun

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