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You should call for any coronavirus health advice and information and any questions you have
Information for patients suffering cold or flu-like illness during the COVID-19 pandemic (This can include patients suspected of, or confirmed to have, COVID-19 itself)
• You can use basic pain relief medications such as paracetamol or paracetamol/codeine to treat symptoms such as sore throat, body aches and fever
• Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat foods high in natural vitamins (lots of different colours on your plate)
• There have been some concerns around the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. For adults, taking these during a viral illness (which could be COVID-19) is probably low risk but you should start with paracetamol and reserve ibuprofen for a last resort. For children we recommend they are not given ibuprofen.
• Other medications that might be helpful include: Saline nasal spray, ipratropium nasal spray, Difflam throat spray for sore throats
• Patients who normally have a “back pocket script” for steroids (e.g. Redipred or Prednisone) should discuss with their doctor before taking these, if they think there is a possibility they have COVID-19
Stay at home, avoiding any close contact with people outside of your household “bubble”.
You could even consider isolating from people within your bubble if possible, especially if they are high risk (e.g. aged >70 years old or with other medical problems).
If you are living alone, you should arrange for someone to phone or text regularly to check how you are doing.
If you need anything from the pharmacy, please do not go there yourself. Ask someone who has not been in close physical contact with you to visit on your behalf, and to drop the medicines off on your doorstep.
Seek further medical attention
• If you are becoming breathless. Clues for this might be struggling to finish a full sentence without taking a breath, or getting puffed doing things that you would normally do easily like walking around the block or out to the letterbox.
- If you are trying to assess this in someone else (e.g. a baby or elderly person) another clue might be exaggerated movements of the chest, sucking in between or below the ribs
• If you are unable to keep fluids down or stop passing urine
• If a child or adult is excessively drowsy, floppy or difficult to wake; or an elderly person becomes very
• If you have already been assessed by a nurse or doctor but feel your condition has significantly worsened since this. People with COVID-19 can worsen in the second week of illness, so if you are still feeling very unwell at this time, please phone and ask for a review.
Return to work
If you had a negative swab for COVID-19 or were advised that you didn’t meet criteria for swabbing, you should remain off work until you have been well for at least 48 hours.
If you were supposed to be self-isolating (eg because of contact with a confirmed case, or overseas travel) then this 14 day period still applies. If you are still unwell at the end of 14 days you need to remain off work until well for 24 hours.
Caitlin Northern, 26th March 2020. Based primarily on BMJ Practice article titled ‘Covid-19: a remote assessment in primary care’, in addition to other best available information at the time of publishing