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Self-diagnosing and self-treating can be deadly, health officials warn

Self-diagnosing and self-treating can be deadly, health officials warn
Shanika John

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Self-diagnosing and self-treating can be very deadly when it comes to COVID-19, health officials are advising amidst a rise in cases and deaths, asking persons not to adopt the view that they can simply “shake it off”.

This advice was given at a virtual press conference organised by the Ministry of Health last Thursday to address the situation then regarding the viral infection.

“If you are someone with pre-existing conditions especially, or if you’re someone who has poor health…this is not the time to do so especially with Delta around,” Shanika John, Health Promotion Officer within the Ministry said at last week’s press conference.

“Do not self-diagnose and do not self-treat yourself. This is all part of our seeking care early,” she continued.

“As Vincentians, this is not the time for us to consider that in due time we will shake it off or we would try to be back to our normal self in two to three days. Those two to three days that you’re waiting could be very deadly,” John warned.

She also encouraged persons to keep their distance, wear face masks properly, change face masks twice daily, not to stuff masks in bags for later use, keep hands out of their face, keep their bubbles tight and to get their free vaccines.

Minister of Health St Clair Prince also encouraged similarly, stating: “There is decreasing compliance with mask use, physical distancing and hand sanitisation,” which are important in the control of the virus.

“There is an element of self-diagnosing and self-treatment at home,” he continued, “We are appealing to you, if you are experiencing flu symptoms or flu like symptoms seek care early. Visit your nearest health centre and the healthcare provider will advise you accordingly.”

While persons with symptoms are being advised to get tested immediately, when it comes to possible spread in the workplace, they are advising workers to self-isolate for five days if they were in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive and then get tested at the end of this period. However, if they begin to experience symptoms, they should be tested immediately.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Roger Duncan commented last week that, “We do appreciate the anxiety that workplaces have when a staff member tests positive.” Also noting, “I know people suddenly have an urgency now we want to get tested, let me get tested now, immediately.”

However, he issued a word of caution.

“Because if there’s somebody in the workplace who was tested, for instance on Monday and the last time he/she was at work was that very same Monday- was the day they do the test; if you were to test either that Monday or the Tuesday, you could very well end up with negative test results which would give you the impression that there’s not been any transmission of COVID-19 at the workplace, and this really isn’t so.”

“…You’re gonna ask these close contacts to self-isolate for at least five days and then they would get tested. Of course, if any one of these close contacts becomes symptomatic, that’s if they have a fever, if they get a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or any other symptom during this five-day period, then they would test immediately and not wait for the five-day period to expire.

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