For many Ipswich residents right now, one of their biggest fears is that they will be diagnosed with COVID-19.
But what actually happens when you contract the virus in West Moreton?
Queensland Health has reminded the community it’s important to remember that everyone who experiences this disease will experience it a little differently, because their bodies will respond to the virus in a different way.
Treating mild illness at home
For most, having the virus will cause only a mild illness, and it will be more of an inconvenience than a serious health issue.
Some people may not have any symptoms at all, while others might have mild symptoms including:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath.
If the symptoms are manageable without medical supervision, the doctor will instruct the patient to look after themselves at home in self-isolation.
This means they need to stay in a room by themselves while they get better, so they can’t give the virus to anyone else.
- remain in your home and do not attend work or school
- wash your hands often with soap and water
- cough into your elbow
- avoid cooking for or caring for other members of your household
- wear a mask (provided by your doctor) if close contact with other people is unavoidable
What happens if my symptoms get worse?
While recovering at home, a doctor or a public health official will check in with the patient about how they are feeling.
They must be told if the patient notices new or worsening symptoms, so they can make the best decision about how to manage the illness.
If the patient becomes more unwell, the doctor may decide the patient needs to be moved to hospital.
If the patient notices new or worsening symptoms that are concerning at any time, contact a doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to speak to a registered nurse – this service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When to call an ambulance
Always call an ambulance if:
- you are experiencing severe symptoms, like shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- you think it’s an emergency
- you think your life or someone else’s life is in danger.
- Call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
If possible, explain to the operator that the patient have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Treating serious symptoms
Some people who have COVID-19, particularly people who are elderly or have pre-existing health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and asthma, or are immunocompromised, may experience more serious symptoms.
Sometimes these can be life-threatening.
Increasingly serious symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- pneumonia – an infection of the lungs which can make it hard to breathe
- bacterial infection – a second infection caused by bacteria
- sepsis –a life-threatening condition that happens when the body’s response to an infection damages healthy tissue and organs.
If the patient is at higher risk of getting very unwell, because of age or a pre-existing health condition, and or the patient is already very unwell, the patient may be treated in hospital.
In hospital patients are in a special ward, away from patients who do not have COVID-19.
Hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients will wear special equipment to stop themselves from catching the virus.
What is an intensive care unit and who needs to be treated there?
In a hospital, an Intensive Care Unit, or ICU, is a specific ward where very sick patients who need specialist critical care are treated.
ICUs are different to other areas of the hospital.
In an ICU, every patient usually has constant, one-on-one care.
There are often many machines around a patient to help keep them alive.
The patient might have breathing tubes to help them breathe, and they might be sedated so that they stay relaxed or asleep.
Patients who have COVID-19 may be treated in ICU if they have severe breathing problems, pneumonia or have developed another condition like sepsis.
Once they are in the ICU, the focus will be on treating these symptoms and complications so that they can survive.
How long will symptoms from the virus last?
Symptoms of the virus may last between days and weeks and may get worse over time.
People who have experienced severe symptoms or side effects from the virus may take weeks or months to recover fully, while people with a mild illness may feel completely better within a week or two.
What can I do to stop the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19?
If someone has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they might be concerned about spreading the virus to others.
The best thing to do is self-isolate properly if you are at home, and follow the instructions given to everyone about hygiene during this pandemic.
Every resident should be following these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
wash your hands often and properly
try not to touch your face
stay 1.5 metres away from other people
don’t go out when you are sick, even if you have not been diagnosed with novel coronavirus (COVID-19).