FAQ's patients ask doctors about Coronvirus

Published Mar 20, 2020


CAPE TOWN - It’s been just over two weeks since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in South Africa and now more than ever, people are looking to their local doctors for answers and advice regarding the Coronavirus.

Dr Mathobela Matjekane founder of Clinimed based in Khayelitsha, Mandalay and Parklands answers some of her most asked questions.

1. Doctor, what are the symptoms?

That’s the first thing they ask. They want to know if they have the virus. Usually the first symptoms start with a sore throat, fever and shortness of breath- it often starts with signs of flu.

2. Doctor, do I need a test? Where can I get one?

My experience as a doctor has been that people are desperate to come in and get a test done. But the minute they realise the financial implications that comes with the test, they have to think twice about it. A healthcare worker will collect a sample which is taken to a laboratory, and it can take up to 48 hours to receive the results. Tests are being conducted at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the private Lancet Laboratories.

3. Doctor, do I need to stay at home?

It is important to stay at home if you have travelled to a country with high local transmissions or if you may have come into contact with someone who has the virus. The other important factor is that our healthcare system doesn’t have the capacity to test everyone, but at the same time those who really need to be tested, should be.

4. Doctor, are people with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis more at risk if they contract coronavirus?

Some people have seen online or in the newspapers that if you have comorbid illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis you are at a higher risk of getting the disease as well as the complications. The people who are at risk are those who don’t know their status and are not on treatment, their immunity is compromised. It is very important that people on treatment should be strict with taking their medication.

5. Doctor, is there a home remedy that will prevent me from contracting Covid-19?

There have been some patients asking me about home remedies to prevent contracting the Coronavirus. They want to know if increasing their water intake or taking more Vitamin C’s will protect them from the virus. There hasn’t been any data to prove that these home remedies will work. To prevent contracting the disease people should wash and sanitise their hands and refrain from touching their face.

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