Family doctors warn against throwing caution to the wind this Christmas

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta College of Family Doctors warned that Malta could not afford repeating the mistakes made last summer – with caution thrown aside by many – during the festive season.

The MCFD highlighted that the arrival of winter has already led to family doctors seeing more patients. Apart from the regular seasonal surge of respiratory tract infections, however, there have been individuals with various health concerns who had postponed seeking medical advice for months, as well as a noticeable rise in symptoms related to stress and lack of exercise.

Whilst family doctors pledged to continue to be available to help preserve the physical, social and psychological wellbeing of all, the MCFD warned that there could not be a repeat of summer, with the lowering of the guard leading to a subsequent surge in Covid-19 cases.

“The higher the number of cases the higher the risk of admissions in hospital and death of vulnerable people, the larger the number of people in quarantine, the greater the number of people off work and the further the lack of income in already difficult financial times for a substantial part of the population,” the college warned, encouraging everyone to heed the advice of the health authorities and restrict their celebrations within their households.

“The means and technologies of yesterday and today can be used to maintain the social contacts that we all crave and currently miss,” the MCFD pointed out.

The MCFD also noted that an increasing number of patients were asking questions about Covid-19 vaccines, and advised those with any queries to seek their doctor’s advice, while warning them to steer clear of fake news and hoaxes.

Malta has reported 108 cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, as well as two more deaths.

The importance of ‘self-care’

The college also emphasised the importance of recognising mild viral illnesses, and to be able to exercise self-care for such illnesses.

With this in mind, it has published a “self-care” guide for the general public, which can be accessed through its website on https://mcfd.org.mt/generalpublic/selfcare

“Self-care means treating mild illnesses at home, using rest, nutrition, and sometimes over-the-counter medicines. Self-care helps avoid the spread of infections in crowded waiting rooms, minimises unnecessary use of medications, and helps reduce the burden on health care services. In the current and future scenario of COVID-19 cases it is imperative that health care services are protected to allow the focus on those more in need,” the college said.

Its guide goes through the symptoms of mild viral illnesses, why they occur, the basics of treatment and the commonly-used medicines that are safe to use to deal with them. It also includes a list of “red flag” symptoms to look out for, and who to speak to if they occur.