When do you know if you’re sick enough to go to the hospital?


Tegan Taylor: We’ve got a question from Ian asking whether if you’re a young or middle-aged person, you’ve got mild symptoms, you’re positive for COVID-19 and you are in isolation at home but if your symptoms start getting worse (we were talking the other day about that second-week crash), what signs should people look out for as a sign that they need to go to hospital?

Norman Swan: If you get better, you start to feel okay, and then you get worse again, your cough gets worse, you’re feeling breathless, people look at you and say you’re looking really unwell, you’re a bit blotchy…I don’t know if people remember the video that Boris Johnson put out two or three days before he ended up in intensive care, he was at home, he looked terrible. So your blood oxygen levels are going to drop, so you’re going to look a bit blueish and blotchy and just not well. Hopefully you don’t get that far.

But I think that if that day 5 to 7, 8, you are feeling that you’re getting worse again, I think that’s when you check in with your GP and start to think about getting checked up. What they’ll probably do is a chest x-ray or a CT scan maybe, and also check your blood oxygen levels because blood oxygen levels tend to drop as well. Look, if at any time if you’re worried you should talk to your GP, but if you go through a period where it seems okay and then around about a week later you seem to be falling off the cliff, you don’t delay, you talk to your GP who will probably send you in to the emergency department.


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