What to do if you get sick

Image by Thulani Mbele

According to professor Shabir Moosa, a family physician with the Johannesburg Health District and University of the Witwatersrand, 80% of people will only experience mild symptoms should they contract the virus, but it is still important to plan for the possibility of hospitalisation.  Professor Shahana Rasool, from the Department of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg, says that thinking through the details of a possible hospitalisation could be very beneficial if it helps people feeling more prepared. “For some people who want a sense of control, it could actually help, butler others it could increase anxiety.” 

Moosa said that the isolation area is a particular problem.  He said that every household should designate a room of part of the house where a sick person could stay separated, but acknowledges that this will be very difficult for many South Africans who live in crowded conditions.  If this cannot be accommodated, he recommends wearing masks inside the home and moving particularly vulnerable but healthy members of the family to another household if at all possible.  “It would be really important that there’s someone who has regular contact with the [ill] person who maybe lives alone,” said Rasool.  She also suggest that someone has a list of measures you have put in place in case of a hospitalisation.  Details such as medical aid, preferred hospital, any chronic medication or co-morbidities.  Those who live alone should also have an extra set of keys available in case they fall ill.  Children should be included in plans for an emergency situation and must understand what to do should the need arise.  Moosa also suggested that it would be a good time to think about estate planning and drawing up a will. 

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