March 22, 2020 by Community Manager 0 Comments

What to do if you think you may have the Coronavirus

It’s a pandemic, we are hearing and reading about it everyday on the news. A friend of a friend of a friend has it. And now you think you have it too – because you coughed that one time.

Don’t Panic. Take a deep breath, and let’s look at what to do if you think you have the dreaded Coronavirus.

 

COVID-19 Symptoms

The coronavirus causes COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness very similar to the cold and the flu. The initial symptoms are a high temperature and cough. Other, more intense symptoms might be a shortness of breath.

Just a cough by itself may not be cause for alarm here – have you travelled to a country with COVID-19 cases or come into close contact with them? Is the cough new or have you always had one from allergies etc. Did you go to a crowded place or did you come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus?

 

When to Take the Test

Okay, you think your symptoms mimic the virus – the first instinct is to go see your GP and get a test done. However, the latest directive from NHS says that you do not need to visit a GP, pharmacy, or hospital. All they want you to do is to stay put, at home (also called self-isolation) for at least 7 days. In most healthy individuals, the COVID-19 will exhibit symptoms and be gone within that time-frame, very much like the common cold. You are only advised to call the NHS 111 helpline if you are unable to manage the symptoms on your own, or if the condition worsens. The NHS will then appropriately guide you on next steps.

 

Self and Social Isolation

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days. Do not meet with anyone, try not to travel outside unless absolutely essential, wear a face mask or cover your mouth with your sleeve (or a tissue) if you do have to be outside, and wait for the illness to subside.

Anyone who has come in contact with you should also practise self-isolation for 14 days (from the day they met you and you had symptoms) to avoid being carriers of the disease.

Even if you don’t have the virus, it is best to consider social distancing and avoid crowded places where you might pick up the virus. Remember to wash your hands frequently, and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap is not available) and avoid touching your face, to minimize the risk of being infected.

If you are still unsure and would like some expert opinion and guidance on your case, schedule an online consultation with a qualified GP. Book a phone/video doctor consultation with Gogodoc and get all your questions answered right away. Whatever the case, stay indoors, wash your hands, and let’s ride this out.

 

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March 13, 2020 by Community Manager 0 Comments

Monitor Your Health : Preventive Tests And When To Take Them

When was the last time you had a complete health checkup? Or are you one of those people who only goes to the doctor when something hurts enough to interfere with your lifestyle? We are totally not judging, but just wanted to get on here and remind you that the first step to maintenance, especially in health matters, is monitoring. This is where preventive tests (or screenings) come in.

 

Screenings look for specific indicators of a particular illness or disease in seemingly healthy people. The tests are based off of existing research and the frequency requirements and recommendations for testing are updated as the research updates. The NHS has a list of screenings it provides as part of its service and can be found on their website (or talk to a doctor about it). Screenings help you understand the condition of your health and how best to move forward, should something come back positive (positive meaning the indicators for the illness are present). Screenings are typically ‘recommended’ and not ‘mandatory’ because they are very personal – test results can sometimes be associated with difficult decisions – like terminating a pregnancy because a test shows the fetus is at risk for something, or having to make treatment decisions for life-altering illnesses. Regardless, being aware of preventive screenings and when to take them will help you take charge of your health.

 

Here is a list of common preventive screenings – some of these are administered by the NHS. This list is by no means comprehensive, and your GP will be able to best help you get the type of screening you require, based on your health needs.

 

For Pregnant Women

Screening for possible birth defects, syndromes, infectious diseases and abnormalities – a gynecologist or physician should be able to refer and decipher results.

 

For Children

Hearing Test and physical examination (including bloodwork) is common.

For Women 

Breast Cancer screening – X-ray mammography screenings for women over 50 (every 1-2 years)

Cervical Cancer screening – checks for the health of cervical cells and helps in the early detection of cervical cancer. every 3 years for those in the 25-49 age range and every 5 years for 50-64.

 

For Men

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening (AAA) – For men, and typically around the age of 65

General Screenings

Eye Tests for Diabetics – Anyone aged 12 and above with a  diabetic condition can get an eye test to check for retinopathy

STD screening – for sexually active adults 

Bowel Cancer Screening – Adults over the age of 55, most times a one-off test

 

 

Apart from these, cancer screenings, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, and medication use review should be considered if you are at risk due to genetic, lifestyle, or other factors. There are very many tests out there, but fret not! Talk to your doctor.

Your GP can refer you for most screening procedures (screenings for pregnant women and children might need specialist referrals) and will receive a copy of the results to best direct you on next steps. If you are looking for a GP appointment with no wait time, book your home visit with a Gogodoc GP today  – we have same-day appointments in most cases. Or simply get an online video consultation with our doctors and monitor your health from the comfort of your home. Leave us a comment if you have any questions 🙂

 

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March 12, 2020 by Community Manager 0 Comments

Vitamin Gummies – Yay or Nay?

Who wants to say no to some childlike fun while also boosting their health? Vitamin Gummies may have been created for people that were unable to swallow tablets, but it has grown in popularity primarily because it’s fun while promising to be healthy.

Gummies pack just about the same nutrients as the tablet versions, sometimes even more, if some supplement testers are to be believed. They have steadily grown in popularity and found their way into trends and celeb culture, but the nutrition world is still divided on whether they work. 

The argument for Gummies is that they deliver nutrition in an easy-to-consume form, and that they are not much different from other supplements out there. The argument against is that they aren’t great for oral health (you need to brush after gummies as they tend to leave behind residue).

Take it a step further and there’s the larger question – do we need vitamin supplements at all? The answer isn’t as simple as we would like it to be. The NHS published an article a year and a half ago detailing studies that showed no correlation between vitamin supplements and any reduction in cardiovascular disease (or death in general). The conclusion they arrived at was that it was best to get the necessary vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet, rather than rely on supplements.

It is entirely possible that we are not taking supplements as they are intended to be taken. There is a push with this generation to take charge of our own health and rather than ‘supplementing’ our nutrition needs with gummies, we might just be consuming more of it because we consider it a ‘good thing’. This is a dangerous slope – vitamins in higher doses can actually cause harm – like vitamin B12, which causes dizziness, headache and nausea in large, unnecessary doses. Or that scary story of a man needing a liver transplant because he took too many green tea pills. 

Understanding our nutritional needs (a quick online consultation with your doctor can help!) is paramount. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are also important. So when might you need a supplement?

  • If you have a specific deficiency due to your lifestyle or diet habits 
  • If you have a dietary restriction that prevents you from getting vitamins the natural way (eg., vegan diets do not have B12 so there might be a need for supplements)
  • Pregnant women may need folic acid supplements
  • Women with heavy periods may have an iron deficiency and a need for supplements
  • Special circumstances – residents in the UK are advised to take vitamin D supplements in the autumn and winter months since we do not get enough sun for the body to synthesize this naturally
  • When your doctor recommends a supplement based on your current health needs
  • Children are usually recommended Vitamin A, C and D as supplements

 

Bottomline, not all bodies are created equal, so neither can nutritional needs. The best way to go about maintaining your health is to figure out what your body needs, and then make it as fun as possible to do that.

 

If you are unsure whether you need a supplement, in gummy or tablet form, ask your doctor – schedule an online video consultation with a Gogodoc doctor to understand your health needs and how best to go about living your best life. Our £20 online doctor consultation services are the best way to get expert health advice without having to leave your couch!

 

But the question still remains – if you passed by vitamin gummies in the Supermarket, would you still pick it up? Tell us in the comments!

January 13, 2019 by Community Manager 0 Comments

‘Give HIV the Finger’

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s defence against infectious organisms and other invaders. If HIV is left untreated, a person’s immune system will get progressively weaker until it can no longer fight off life-threatening infections and diseases. However, the rate at which HIV progresses varies depending on age, general health and background. Testing regularly for HIV means you can get antiretroviral treatment if you need it and stay healthy.

The ‘give HIV the finger’ pun refers to the free postal finger-prick test that people can receive for testing without attending a clinic.

 

HIV in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) has a relatively small HIV epidemic, with an estimated 101,200 people living with HIV in 2015. Just over 5,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2016, according to the data from Public Health England. This is an 18% decline from 2015.

The epidemic is largely concentrated among certain key populations, including men who have sex with men and black African populations. 54% of diagnoses were among gay and bisexual men; 19% and 22% among heterosexual men and women, respectively.

Late diagnosis is an important predictor of morbidity and premature death in people with HIV. In 2016, 42% diagnoses were made at a late stage of infection when treatment is less effective.

 

Current Screening Tests

HIV postal test kits allow people to take a finger-prick blood sample themselves. The samples are sent to a local laboratory for HIV testing. The test is highly accurate and can detect HIV within four weeks after infection.

These tests give a result of ‘reactive’ (positive) or ‘non-reactive’ (negative); reactive results are further classified into ‘high’ and ‘low’ reactive tests. A highly reactive result is suggestive of a HIV infection.

Patients providing a specimen reactive in the screening assay, but not confirmed to be consistent with HIV infection, should be retested using a fresh blood specimen collected at least two weeks later.

Ideally, a HIV antibody test should be performed on venous blood. Most laboratories in the UK use ‘fourth generation’ HIV screening tests. They detect anti-HIV (nearly all can detect the three main Ig classes: IgM, IgG and IgA) and p24 antigen. All patients whose first specimen indicates evidence of HIV infection must have their HIV status confirmed by tests on a second sample collected at another time.

HIV home sampling could potentially improve our ability to identify cases of HIV by targeting people at risk who do not use traditional testing venues such as sexual health clinics. The results data collected between 2015 and 2016 showed that 1.1% of tests submitted via the national postal testing scheme were ‘reactive’ and 0.7% were ‘high reactive’, compared to just 0.3% of tests finding HIV positive results from specialist sexual health clinics.

 

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

The definition of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is based on a potentially life-threatening infection or cancer seen in the immunosuppressed. Patients who have been diagnosed with AIDS have a greater risk of opportunistic infections. The most common AIDS-defining illnesses include:

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. Recurrent bacterial pneumonia
  3. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia
  4. Kaposi’s sarcoma
  5. Lymphoma
  6. Cerebral toxoplasmosis
  7. Cryptococcal meningitis
  8. Intestinal cryptosporidiosis

Patients diagnosed late during HIV infection are at an increased risk of developing AIDS and are more likely to transmit HIV to others. This is one of the key challenges facing the UK, despite rates of late diagnosis being on the decline. In 2017, 428 people died from AIDS-related illnesses due to being diagnosed late. Nevertheless, the number of people diagnosed with AIDS-defining illnesses is declining and fell by 25% from 2015 to 2016.

 

Counselling

Patients identified as being at high-risk for HIV or those with concerns should be offered more in-depth discussion or counselling, in addition to a test. A brief pre-test discussion, explaining that routine HIV testing is recommended, is appropriate, with the aim of obtaining informed verbal consent.

 

Other methods to increase the uptake of testing

The Department of Health recommendation is that patients who come from countries where prevalence of HIV infection is high (>0.5%), all adults presenting to the emergency department in the UK should be tested (with consent). Also, all new patients registering at a GP should be tested. Testing in other outpatient departments, e.g. colposcopy and dermatology should also be carried out.

All patients attending sexual health clinics should be offered a HIV test on an ‘opt-out’ basis, and an information leaflet should be used to increase uptake of HIV antibody testing.

 

The future

Not too long ago, a diagnosis of HIV and AIDS was considered to be a death sentence. This has fortunately changed over the past decade, owing to significant progress made in the provision of antiretroviral treatment and gradual upliftment of the stigma that is attached to the condition.

Progress is still to be made, however, as late diagnosis rates continue to be high. People living with an undiagnosed infection have worse health outcomes and pose a public health risk as they are more likely to pass the virus on to others. Homosexual men and black Africans are still at a heightened risk of HIV. Further, the younger generation has lost some fear of HIV because of the success of treatment, causing them to engage in risky behaviours. These issues can be rectified by narrowing the gaps in HIV prevention and education schemes.

If you have any concerns or questions, you can get help from sexual health clinics, charities, or your GP.

November 7, 2018 by Community Manager 0 Comments

Is Obesity A Disease Or A Choice?

Obesity is a very important public health problem. The rates are now very high, with over 25% of the UK population and 33% of the US population classified as obese.

October 3, 2018 by Community Manager 0 Comments

Gogodoc Goes To TechCrunch Disrupt

Our team flew out to San Fransico to attend this amazing event! We had the opportunity to display our services in TechCrunch’s Startup Valley which featured various top startups around the world.

September 27, 2018 by Community Manager 0 Comments

How Accurate Is The ECG Function In The Apple Watch 4?

The new Apple Watch 4 comes with several features, but the one that’s received the most attention is its ability to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG).

September 12, 2018 by Community Manager 4 Comments

Eat Back The Years With These 10 Youth-Boosting Foods

Want firmer, smoother skin and a brighter complexion? Try these top 10 anti-ageing foods.

August 30, 2018 by Community Manager 0 Comments

Activated Charcoal: The New Black, Or Just Another Quack?

Charcoal? Either I’m missing something or the world’s losing the plot. Because it’s usually the latter, I decided to write this article to rectify the issue.

August 26, 2018 by Community Manager 0 Comments

A Spoonful Of Honey For That Cold

Have you got a cough or cold? Maybe you should think about treating it with good ol’ fashioned honey as the old saying goes.