NHS Lanarkshire calls on residents to prepare for Covid self-care at home


Over the next 4-6 weeks with infection rates in Lanarkshire the second highest in Scotland [see note 1], local people are being urged to prepare, should COVID-19 hit their household.

In the past fortnight, NHS Lanarkshire confirmed that while a number of clinically urgent and priority procedures will continue, it is temporarily postponing all non-urgent surgery – and some outpatient appointments. It was also announced that GP practices have been asked to prioritise urgent care over the next month, as the number of Covid cases continues to put pressure on the whole healthcare system.  

Instead it will focus on Covid inpatients and emergency care while managing the COVID-19 patients who will continue to be in hospital over the coming weeks.

The best way to avoid catching COVID-19 is, of course, to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons.

However, should someone fall ill – and have mild symptoms – there is plenty they can do to self-care at home and they should prepare in advance. Once COVID-19 is diagnosed, it’s too late to go out and get supplies.

Dr Mike Coates a local GP, pointed out that with the continuing rate of Covid case numbers in Lanarkshire, it is likely that many local people will know someone who falls ill with Covid over the next month or so. The latest 7 day total shows 1,705 new cases (see Daily Data note 1),  

He said, “We’re going to see many people get sick with this nasty virus before things start to get better. Unfortunately, the majority of people who get Covid will feel unwell for around a week before starting to recover. They can – and should – self-care at home.”

If you have one or more of the symptoms of Covid (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you must self-isolate and contact 111 to arrange for a test and thereafter you must stay at home for 10 days if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, even if you think the symptoms are mild.

Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital – you could put others at risk. Everyone in the affected household must stay at home. Here are six straightforward tips from Dr Mike Coates, to share for self-care at home:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. You should be peeing every few hours and it should be pale yellow in colour; if it’s darker, you need to drink more.
  2. If you’re coughing, prop yourself up in bed with pillows. Lying on your stomach can also decrease pressure on your lungs. Warm drinks such as a freshly squeezed lemon sweetened with a spoonful of honey in a mug with some hot water can help soothe a cough. Avoid dairy and eat high calorie, high protein food if your appetite allows.
  3. Make sure you’ve got a packet of Paracetamol in the house and take it if you need to, for pain or fever, according to the packet instructions.
  4. Keep your room and yourself comfortable; not too hot or too cold and open windows so that fresh air can circulate.
  5. Wash your hands often and dispose of tissues into a separate bin liner.

Speaking about the pressures on NHS Lanarkshire hospitals due to COVID-19, John Keaney, Divisional Medical Director for NHS Lanarkshire’s Acute Services said, “Our capacity is reaching a critical point, so anything that local people can do to reduce the pressure on A&E departments is helpful and much appreciated.

“Statistics for the month of January (01-25.01.2021) show that nearly 1 in 10 people turning up at A&E could instead have stayed at home and followed self-care advice, or phoned 111 to be referred for quicker help elsewhere.” [see note 1]

Everyone in Lanarkshire will also have received a leaflet through their door within the last week with information about where to get the right – and fastest – care, in the right place. NHS Lanarkshire’s Choose Well, Keep Well guide offers a range of services that local healthcare professionals across Lanarkshire can provide, so that people can go directly to the right healthcare professional for help, without having to see a GP first.

While most people who get Covid will feel unwell for around a week, some people will unfortunately become much worse around day 10 and may need to go to hospital. Phone 111 if existing symptoms worsen, especially if not feeling better after 10 days, or if you:

  • Become very thirsty and are peeing noticeably less
  • Feel light headed or feel extremely weak
  • Experience new, severe muscle cramps
  • Start coughing up blood
  • Get chest pain or shortness of breath that’s new or getting worse

For life threatening emergencies, always call 999.

Anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and arrange a test immediately by calling 0800 028 2816 or by booking one in advance at www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect.

To find out more about the services offered by NHS Lanarkshire, visit https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/experts/.

To find details of services closest to you, use the services directory on NHS Inform: www.nhsinform.scot or go to NHS 24 on https://www.nhs24.scot/.

  1. In the first 25 days of 2021, Lanarkshire hospitals had 10,582 attendances, 3,706 of whom (35%) were admitted. Some 839 people (8%) were quickly redirected to other services for help, the vast majority (88%) for self-care at home. At time of writing (27.01.2021) Scottish Government statistics show Lanarkshire has one of the highest rates of Covid per 100,000 of population in Scotland see Daily Data
  2. NHS Lanarkshire is the third largest health board in Scotland, serving a population of 655,000 across rural and urban communities. Its aim is for everyone to live longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting, and it is committed to delivering high quality, innovative health and social care that is person-centred.NHS. Lanarkshire employs around 12,000 staff working in communities, health centres, clinics and offices, and at three university general hospitals – University Hospital Hairmyres, University Hospital Monklands and University Hospital Wishaw.

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