Keep taking your medicine

Family Health Diary

Whilst we have now moved into Level 2 it is still important to continue to take your medication.

This may seem a fairly obvious thing to tell you but it is so important to keep taking all your regular medicines unless told otherwise by your doctor. Those of us with any long term health condition must stay as healthy as possible with our general health so we are strong enough to fight this virus if we do end up catching it. All the while keeping a reasonable distance when out in public, so we hopefully do not catch it.

Diabetic patients will understand the importance of continuing to use their regular medicines. Many diabetic patients regularly take their blood sugar levels to ensure they are balancing their food, exercise and medicine (tablets or insulin). In some ways you are lucky in that you have the ability to keep such close watch on your health. As I mentioned in my diabetes blog, it is very important to keep your blood sugar within the recommended levels. As soon as your blood sugar levels become too high this damages the small blood vessels in your body. This damage is not reversible, so keep to your recommended medicines, exercise and food. If for some reason your exercise or food changes, talk to your doctor or nurse about how to adjust your medicine to still keep your blood sugar levels stable. Diabetic patient have usually been given advice about what to do if they get sick. Make sure you have this advice before you get sick. Follow your doctor’s advice about whether you need to adjustment your insulin if you become unwell.

Heart condition
People who have a heart condition or raised blood pressure need to be just as careful as people with diabetes. If you have a home blood pressure monitor then it is good to check your blood pressure. During stressful times it is normal for your blood pressure to go up a bit. Make sure you have spoken to your GP about what your blood pressure level should be and at what level you need to phone the doctor and consider an adjustment to your medicine.

If you are an asthmatic you will be very aware that the Covid-19 virus seems to attack the lungs. It is super important that you continue with your usual preventer inhaler(s) and keep your lungs as healthy as possible. If you have a peak flow meter it is good to take regular readings to make sure your lung function remains at its usual levels. If you have concerns about your lung function phone your usual doctor.

The Ministry of Health list of COVID-19 symptoms are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C)
  • shortness of breath.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

As an asthmatic you will be aware of what it feels like to have an asthma attack. Make sure you have your reliever inhalers handy in case you require them.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health have a special phone number for COVID-19 health advice and information. If you are concerned about yourself or one of your loved ones possibly having Covid-19, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453

If you are concerned about other health issues then please use the usual HealthLine number: 0800 611 116.

In the meantime: make sure you have sufficient medicine to continue taking your medicines as prescribed by your doctor. Your pharmacy will still be open, though you will probably have to phone and order more medicine. You will not be the only person if you have forgotten to check on the number of days’ supply you have in the house. Make sure you have at least a month of your regular medicines at home. Do not stock pile medicine, this is not good for you, or anyone else. Order fresh medicine when you get down to one month’s supply remaining. If you cannot get to the pharmacy, some pharmacies can arrange to have medicine delivered to your home.

Stay healthy and: Keep taking your medicine.

Written by Linda Caddick

This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The information contained in the blog and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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