We’ve had a lot of information to absorb over the last couple of years in relation to COVID-19. Everything from tests and masks, to lockdowns and quarantines, to vaccinations and mandates. There’s a plethora of information out there about these topics, so in this post we’re going to shift the focus to how you can manage COVID at home, with the help of a SwiftDoc GP.
Not everyone who contracts COVID-19 requires hospitalisation. For most people, the illness can be managed in the home, following a treatment plan put together by a GP. (It should be noted however that if you have a severe case of COVID-19 then you should of course seek further medical assistance including calling an ambulance if necessary).
By remaining in your home, you’ll be able to recover in a space you feel comfortable in, while isolating yourself from others in the community.
Managing COVID-19 from home doesn’t mean you are isolated from medical support. Once you’ve received your positive result, one of your first actions should be to schedule a video call with a GP (you can do this here). This GP may speak to you about your specific symptoms and circumstances and may provide medical advice about treatment and medication.
After your initial appointment, you may also wish to schedule a follow-up appointment if your symptoms change or if you have any more concerns as you self-manage your care at home.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has put together an excellent guide to managing COVID-19 at home, including a list of symptoms to look out for, and a template symptom diary that you can use at home to keep track of your symptoms. It is recommended that you keep track of your symptoms so you can discuss with your GP, who in turn can adjust your management plan if required.
Once you’ve received a positive diagnosis, most States and Territories in Australia require you to isolate yourself for a set period of time, or until you test negative. That means that you’ll need to have done a bit of preparation before a positive result to ensure you have what you need at home.
Some ideas for getting prepared include:
• Gathering together items to assist in your recovery such as a thermometer, pain relief medication, a good supply of any regular medications, masks, hand sanitiser, gloves and Rapid Antigen Tests.
• Having a stock of items at home (or knowing where you will be able to get them from for home delivery) such as food, pet food and nappies. There are plenty of options for delivery too, such as major supermarkets, or companies that supply ready-meals, frozen meals or dinner kits to prepare meals.
• You may also like to consider purchasing a pulse oximeter, to measure your oxygen levels and heart rate. In some States and Territories you may be able to borrow this equipment from a health provider (such as a hospital), otherwise they can usually be purchased from pharmacies or online. The RACGP guide contains a useful summary of how to use a pulse oximeter, and how to interpret the results.
It’s also a good idea to record these results in your daily symptom diary. Other preparations you might like to make in advance include talking to family or friends about possible assistance to care for children while you are unwell with COVID-19, and any preparations you might need to make with your employer, such as having access to what you need should you be able to work from home.
You’ll also need to chat to your household about how you will safely share your spaces at home, to avoid infecting others with COVID-19. This could include things such as providing you with your own room or space just for you (if possible), regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, wearing a mask and washing hands/using hand sanitiser as required.
As we mentioned above, one of the first tasks you should do when receiving your positive diagnosis is to make an appointment with a SwiftDoc GP to discuss a treatment plan and management of your illness.
Depending on your circumstances you may also be entitled to government support (either financial or otherwise), in-home carers support, or other support services such as translation services.
Monitoring your mental health is almost as important as your physical health, so be sure to access mental health services either through a SwiftDoc GP or psychologist or services such as Beyond Blue (who have a specific COVID-19 support service), Lifeline, Kids Helpline or 1800RESPECT.
Last (but certainly not least), make sure you keep in touch with friends and family via phone calls and video chats, and ask them for help if you need help managing your health needs or caring for children or dependents.
Get your support system started by booking an appointment with a SwiftDoc GP.
Your first stop for medical advice suited to your own situation is a GP. As so many Australians are now managing COVID-19 in the home there are a lot of free resources available and accessible online such as:
Mental health support services