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Fears British people isolating themselves with Covid-19 seek help too late | News from the world

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There are concerns that people living alone with worsening symptoms of Covid-19 may not seek medical help early enough when they enter the more serious second phase of the virus, which could reduce their chances of survival. .

the NHS does not have an appropriate surveillance system for people suspected of having a coronavirus, said Dr. Bharat Pankhania, clinical lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Exeter.

“If a patient develops pneumonia, it can progressively worsen very quickly and, therefore, early admission at the first sign of breathing difficulties is very important,” he said.

“It is important for people who are recovering at home that a surveillance system is also in place. Something that we have so far not introduced. “

Symptoms are defined by the NHS as follows:

  • high temperature – you feel warm to the touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means that you have started coughing several times

The NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms stay at home for at least 7 days.

If you live with other people, they must stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

After 14 days, anyone with whom you have no symptoms can return to their normal routine. But, if someone in your home has symptoms, they should stay home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they are at home for more than 14 days.

If you live with someone who is 70 years of age or older, has a long-term illness, is pregnant, or has a weakened immune system, try to find another place to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to get as far away from each other as possible.

After 7 days, if you no longer have a high temperature, you can resume your normal routine.

If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.

If you still cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you don’t need to stay at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection clears up.

Staying at home means you need to:

  • do not go to work, school or public places
  • do not use public transport or taxis
  • have no visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • don’t go out to buy food or collect medicine – order it over the phone or online, or have someone drop it off at your house

You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 meters from other people.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, use the NHS 111 Coronavirus Service to know what to do.

Source: NHS England March 23, 2020

There is a danger that people will only come to the hospital when their symptoms are very severe, with an increased risk of ending up in intensive care and dying, he said.

the early symptoms mild illnesses include persistent dry cough, increased temperature and shortness of breath. The advice to anyone with these symptoms is to isolate yourself at home. They are not told to inform the health service.

Most people recover within a week, but if their symptoms worsen or if they still have a high temperature at the end of this period, the instruction is to fill out a form on the NHS 111s coronavirus website ‘they can – and call NHS 111 only if they can’t do it. Depending on their answers, they can get a doctor’s visit or be hospitalized.

Covid-19 is reported to be mild to moderate in 80% of people, but can cause viral pneumonia. In the most severe cases, the immune system fighting the virus overreacts. If that happens, what’s called a cytokine storm attacks their organs. The individual will need ventilation in the hospital to catch their breath and possibly mechanical support for their heart, liver or kidneys.

People with symptoms at home will not receive medical help unless they ask for it, unlike some other countries, which test people with symptoms and monitor them at home.


Health authorities in the city of Heidelberg in southern Germany have set up a “taxi corona” service, which allows medical staff to visit home patients and assess their progress. This was introduced after virologists and other doctors recognized that it often happens in two waves and that, generally, on the eighth day, patients’ health can worsen.

Patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infections are regularly called by student doctors on phone lines, and based on their accounts, a taxi team can arrange a visit.

Four of the taxis – small buses usually used for school trips – constantly travel around the city to visit patients.

“These daily phone calls and home visits would totally overwhelm the doctors here,” said Uta Merle, medical director for gastroenterology and infections at Heidelberg University Hospital, which is why medical students are recruited. Eight hundred people have volunteered so far.

Hans-Georg Kräusslich, head of virology at the hospital, said Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung visits are necessary because “often patients do not have the courage to call the clinic and do not really take their worsening condition seriously”.

Thanks to taxis, he said, “our colleagues have discovered quite a few patients whom they have been able to protect from a drastic worsening of their condition”.

Many were transported to hospital and put on ventilators. This crucial just-in-time decision would have saved many lives in Germany. Taxi teams received letters of thanks from patients thanking them for saving their lives.

Pankhania said people in the UK no longer go to hospital for conditions other than Covid-19 in the kind of numbers that would be expected. “For some reason, we scared the patient. These things that we should see don’t show up. These people are continuing on their way, ”he said.


He himself has heard of cases where people were very sick with symptoms resembling those of Covid-19, but did not see a doctor and died at home.

He said it was possible that some people might have been discouraged from calling NHS 111 when their symptoms got worse or if they still had a fever after a week – these are the first signs that their condition could become serious.

He also does not think it is satisfactory for people with symptoms not to be tested. “I don’t think it’s enough,” he said. “Before, I was a general practitioner. I would like to know who my Covid-19 patients were. I would call them and ask them how they were. Unfortunately, this does not happen. The general practitioner may or may not be aware of the patient. “

The Office for National Statistics has recently started to include deaths from Covid-19 in the community, including nursing homes. They show that the total was more than 20% higher than that of deaths in hospital.

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