COVID-19 – Don’t ignore the hidden health risks.
COVID-19 is a public health challenge on a scale that has never been seen before. But aside from the virus itself, the pandemic also poses some other, less obvious risks to our health and wellbeing.
Around the world, stories are beginning to emerge about the alarming drop in numbers of people seeking medical help for serious illnesses out of fear or concern for COVID-19. Doctors fear that anxiety about COVID-19 will lead to an increase in deaths from heart attacks and cancers.
In Australia, there has been a 50% drop in the number of new cancer patients – sadly not due to a drop in cancers, but because people are scared of being infected by coronavirus in a hospital setting, or because they don’t want to place a burden on the health system in a time of crisis.
This trend is also reflected in heart attack patients, with a drop of 30%.
Such large numbers of people delaying treatment for cancer is likely to lead to a similarly dramatic increase in deaths as opportunities for early intervention are missed.
For those delaying treatment out of concern for overwhelming the hospital system, the irony is that this may lead to increased demand down the track, potentially overwhelming the system anyway and leading to yet more delays in treatment.
So far, the attention has focussed on heart and cancer patients, but the phenomenon is likely to extend to other conditions, leading to poor health outcomes for thousands of people.
Patients who suffer from chronic and complex conditions requiring ongoing treatment are at risk. Other suffering minor ailments are also likely to find themselves suffering unnecessarily, or finding their health deteriorating in the absence of timely intervention.
Put simply, COVID-19 is not the only story when it comes to your health. Delaying medical treatment puts you at risk.
The good news is, you can and should seek medical treatment safely. At PIM, our staff are highly trained in infection control and we acted early and decisively to limit the risk of transmission. Combined with the very low level of community transmission in South Australia, a visit to PIM is very low risk – potentially much lower than the risk of not seeking treatment for your condition!
We also offer remote consultations for anyone who prefers not to attend in person.
COVID-19 is serious. However, while it is important to reduce your risk of catching and spreading this virus, it is no less important to maintain good health in other ways as well.
To find out more about safeguarding your health during this pandemic, contact us.