WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Coronavirus concerns and chronic pain.

Don't compromise your pain care amid coronavirus concerns.

Painless is fortunate to have simple, well-established options for delivering expert pain care, via video or phone call.

Medicare is now offering additional rebates for video or phone appointments — to help ensure you receive the care you need during this difficult time.

Amidst a constant stream of conflicting information, it's difficult to know just how concerned to be about the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly so for those living with chronic pain or illness — for whom immunity may be somewhat depressed and stress management, essential.

We'd like to offer some (thoroughly fact-checked) information and advice to help provide some clarity to our Painless community.*

If you are a Painless patient and are currently unwell, have recently travelled overseas, or are choosing to avoid public spaces, please contact our support team to arrange a video consultation.

*Please be advised, information is changing rapidly in this space. The following information represents the most up-to-date knowledge from the world's most reputable authorities as of 18/03/20.

SEEKING CLARITY

What you need to know about COVID-19

The following information represents the most up-to-date knowledge from the world's most reputable authorities as of 18th March 2020. It has been thoroughly fact-checked by our researchers and medical director, and will be updated as new information emerges.

01

This pandemic is likely to last many months — so don't postpone your pain care.

Many are viewing coronavirus as a serious but short-term issue. This is very unlikely to be the case. The world's leading authorities predict the pandemic will last many months (some predict 3-4 months, others predict 12-18 months involving multiple "waves").

02

The virus presents differently between individuals.

Children: The good news is children appear to be relatively well protected against COVID-19. While they can carry and pass on the virus, it's unlikely they'll experience any significant harm.

Adults: COVID-19 is unique in it's wide ranging severity between cases. Best estimates suggest approx. 80% of cases will not require hospitalization — and will result in mild-to-moderate symptoms, ranging from cold-like symptoms to minor pneumonia. The primary indicator of a severe case, requiring hospital care, is difficulty breathing (resulting from impaired respiratory function).

There's good reason to believe smokers, those with an existing respiratory or chronic health conditions, or those over the age of 60 are at increased risk — and should take extra precautions to protect themselves.

03

Current fatality rates are only estimates and likely inaccurately high.

Early reports placed fatality rates as high as 2 to 3%. This early data is very likely to be inaccurate. Many individuals present with only minor-to-moderate symptoms and — with very limited testing currently being conducted — go undetected.

It should be noted, we are yet to see reliable data documenting the course of coronavirus in non-hospitalised patients. As such, it's impossible to gain a complete picture of how this illness will impact our population at this time.

The world's leading researchers at John Hopkins currently estimate fatality rates to be approx. 0.6% — which is 6 times higher than influenza. This data is being drawn from South Korea who, at this time, have conducted more thorough testing than anywhere else in the world.

04

Reducing the strain of pain on your health is more important now — not less.

Reducing the strain of chronic pain, stress, poor sleep or nutrition on your overall health is more important now than ever. We highly advise that you do not suspend seeking care for your pain, or any other health condition, during this time.

Digital consultations are available for those who are unwell or avoiding public spaces, and every precaution is taken in the Painless practice to maintain a safe environment.

How the new coronavirus compares with other infectious diseases. Photo credit: New York Times.

KNOW THE SIGNS

Signs, symptoms and seeking help.

Coronavirus symptoms may develop within 14 days of exposure, and include...

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Cold-like symptoms

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Cough

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Fever

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Shortness of breath

How is coronvirus diagnosed?

In Australia, coronavirus is primarily being diagnosed via a nasal and throat swab, tested in the laboratory.

Following your test, you are required to remain in self-isolation until you've received your results and personal medical advice.

How is coronavirus transmitted?

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Coronavirus is usually spread through close person-to-person contact via "respiratory droplets" from coughing and sneezing (within approx. 2 meters).

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It may also be spread through airborne transmission — when tiny respiratory droplets remain in the air and are inhaled by others.

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New research suggests the coronavirus remains active on surfaces, including antimicrobial surfaces (like copper), for 8 to 72hrs.

When to seek help?

People with fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough or sore throat AND:

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Have returned from overseas travel in the last 14 days, OR...

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Have been in contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, OR...

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Believe they have may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19...

... seek medical attention via the channels listed below, and remain in self-quarantine until you receive your pathology test results. If you're experiencing difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.

Seeking medical care for suspected coronavirus in Western Australia.

If you're experiencing a cough and/or fever, it's advised you remain isolated the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800-020-080 for more information.

If you meet the above criteria, or are experiencing difficulty breathing, it's advised you seek professional medical care. Coronavirus clinics have been set up at Royal Perth, Fiona Stanley and Sir Charles Gardner hospitals. Learn more about coronavirus clinics and pathology collection centers here.

CORONAVIRUS HEALTH INFORMATION LINE

1800-020-080

Precautions

How to proactively protect yourself?

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap.

Wash your hands, for at least 20 seconds, with soap following proper hand washing protocol.

Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers (with at least 60% alcohol) can provide protection when unable to wash hands.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch. These may include your phones, computer keyboards and mice, door handles, light switches, hand rails and tables.

Avoid close contact and crowded spaces.

Avoid large gatherings of people — particularly crowded spaces — and minimize close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing.

If you are considered high risk or live with someone considered high risk, it's recommended you take extra precautions to avoid close contact with others.

Video consultations are available, and subject to medicare rebates, so you do not have to compromise your pain care.

Only wear a mask if you are already unwell.

Only wear a face mask if you have respiratory symptoms, or are caring for someone with respiratory symptoms. Masks are unlikely to provide any protection for healthy individuals, but may prevent transmission to others.

Are you currently taking NSAID medications (like ibuprofen)? The World Health Organisation have officially recommended avoiding these medication amid COVID-19. Click here to learn more.