Aussies urged to speak to GP about Covid-19 plan if they’re at higher risk of symptoms

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Most Australians at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 don’t have a plan in place with their GP if they get sick, according to new research.

The research from Pfizer shows that of those people at higher risk, 74 per cent remain without a plan on how they’ll combat the long-lasting effects if they test positive for Covid-19.

With winter fast approaching, Dr Daniel Nour, founder of not-for-profit Street Side Medics, urged Australians to remain alert to the impact of the disease on more vulnerable people.

“For most, Covid-19 is no longer front of mind, but the virus is still with us and we anticipate a surge this winter,” Dr Nour said.

“If someone you care about is at higher risk of serious illness – maybe an elderly parent, a neighbour, a friend – check whether they have a Covid plan in place before they test positive.

“If you are among the almost one in four Australians at risk of serious illness from Covid-19, you may be eligible for antiviral medicines. “But you need to act quickly – oral antiviral treatment needs to be commenced as soon as possible after testing positive for Covid-19 and within five days of symptoms starting.

“Now is the time to check your eligibility and make a plan with your GP.

“If you do test positive, don’t wait for worsening symptoms, contact your GP right away”.

Factors that push someone into the higher risk category include:

  • Veing over 50 years old;
  • Having a health condition such as heart disease;
  • Diabetes;
  • Chronic respiratory conditions;
  • Being immunocompromised; and
  • Being from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.

The latest research, which surveyed 100 Australian GPs, found 89 per cent of GPs reported being concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the patients they treat.

This is compared to only 67 per cent of the general population who expressed the same concerns about the impact of Covid-19 in their communities.

The research also found that 44 per cent of higher risk patients would not routinely contact their GP if they tested positive

“Part of your Covid plan with your GP should include how you will contact them if you test positive for Covid-19 – this may mean booking a telehealth appointment or asking a relative or friend to make a booking,” Dr Nour said.

On March 1, the latest federal government data revealed there was a seven-day rolling average of 117 Australians a day admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and 37 people were in intensive care units with Covid-19 complications.

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