Forum: Let patients know what serious Covid-19 symptoms are and how to go for triage if needed

There were so many confusing protocols to follow in the management of Covid-19 patients, doctors and patients were confounded.

The simpler three-step health protocol is much easier to digest and implement (Treat Covid-19 seriously, but no need to live in fear: PM, Oct 10).

Patients themselves know (because they feel surprisingly well despite a positive diagnosis) that most of the time the symptoms of the disease are mild, but when promised calls from the ministry and telemedicine providers do not materialise, frustration and anxiety that they are missing vital bits of the puzzle mount.

Such promises should not have been made and probably were not necessary to begin with.

Most patients want to recover from home but need to know what the serious symptoms to look out for are - information that was to be provided by telemedicine providers, but which the media can also educate them on.

Breathlessness, racking coughs, chest pain, lethargy and restlessness beyond what is normally felt in a flu, unremitting fever or fever that relapses, severe headaches, vomiting or diarrhoea, blood oxygen levels that fall persistently below 95 per cent saturation - these are symptoms that call for more action than continued home recovery.

If patients are given clear instructions on going to a community healthcare centre where triage can be instituted for hospitalisation if necessary, a lot of uncertainty would be resolved.

Viruses mutate, and even as they can become more transmissible than the present Covid-19 Delta variant, more often they become less virulent and host and pathogen then coexist.

The pandemic then becomes an almost non-event for which micromanagement is unnecessary as almost everyone is vaccinated and has immunity, with the virus causing some minor effects when it strikes.

Simplistically, if we get 5,000 cases daily out of a population of five million, or one in a thousand, cumulatively all of us would have crossed paths with the virus within three years.

Micromanagement would then be superfluous and broadsword measures sufficient. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.