On 12 June, it was announced that all students above the age of 12, as well as school staff with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), would be tested for Covid-19 upon seeing a doctor.
7 days later, the designation was expanded to include those aged 45 and above.
And finally, on 25 June, the Ministry of Health (MOH) made a declaration:
Anyone aged 13 and up with ARI would be subjected to tests, effective from 1 July.
But here’s the thing; many patients present tend to exhibit mild symptoms, and as a result choose to self-diagnose rather than clarify their doubts with a doctor.
Others fear the process and attempt to stay away from it, even though it’s, as GPs put it:
A “relatively painful” process.
GPs Urge People to Visit the Doctor & Not Self-Diagnose
According to GPs, patients should abstain from self-diagnosing.
“The tricky thing about Covid is that a lot of patients present with very mild symptoms, so even a slight cough could be due to Covid,” said family physician Quah Soon Wee of Crossroads Family Clinic.
“It’s hard for patients to tell on their own, so it’s recommended that they see us.”
And Dr Aziz concurs.
“There are things that those with no medical background may not piece together. You may have eaten durian, but you may also have bought that durian from a supermarket at the same time an infected person was there,” he said.
It’s a ‘Relatively Painless’ Process
People should also not fear getting swabbed, as it’s a “relatively painless” process.
Dr Chng said: “Patients should not worry because Covid-19 testing is very quick and easy to do. In addition, anyone who is unwell should get tested for public health reasons. This will also allow him or her to receive the appropriate treatment needed and stop the spread to loved ones if tested positive.”
Dr Tan Teck Jack agrees, stating that one has a social responsibility to curb the spread of Covid-19 in this time of crisis.
“If we have a second circuit breaker, it’d be very expensive and disruptive to the community,” said Dr Tan. “So it’s socially responsible for you to present yourself to a doctor once you have a cough or cold, and let them decide.”
“Covid’s danger is the fact that it tends to have complications at the late stage of the disease…” added Dr Tan Liat Leng. “So it’s better to be diagnosed at an early stage when you can be put under monitoring or isolation, rather than letting your infection fester.”
What Is An ARI?
According to Healthline, an ARI is an “infection that may interfere with normal breathing. It can affect just your upper respiratory system, which starts at your sinuses and ends at your vocal cords, or just your lower respiratory system, which starts at your vocal cords and ends at your lungs.”
The Health Ministry has set out several general symptoms of ARI including cough, sore throat, runny nose and loss of sense of smell.
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