Category: Medical News

I am a Close Contact. What should I do?

I am a Close Contact. What should I do?

The first thing to know is that the term “close contact” is very specific. If you happened to walk pass a person who was later tested positive for Covid-19 infection, this does not make you a close contact. In this case, you are considered a casual contact. A close contact is a person who was in close contact with another person who was later tested positive for Covid-19 under these conditions:

  1. He or she was with the Covid person for 15 minutes or longer
  2. He or she was with the Covid person at a distance of less than 2 meters

In addition, if either one of you were not wearing a mask, that makes you a high-risk close contact. If both were wearing masks, the risk is considerably lower.

If you are a close contact, these are the things you should do:

  1. Do a rt-PCR swab test. All close contacts MUST do this test.
  2. Quarantine yourself at home for at least 10 days, and contact your nearest CAC (Covid-19 Assessment Centre)
  3. Monitor yourself for symptoms

Your rt-PCR test results

If your rt-PCR test came back positive, you are no longer a close contact. Instead, you are now a Covid-19 infected person, and anyone else who were in close contact with you immediately become your close contacts. Inform them and ask them to be tested.

However, if your rt-PCR test came back negative, you are still not out of the wood yet. This is because the rt-PCR test is not 100% accurate. The pick up rate is less when you are tested too early. You may still be infected with the Covid-19 virus but the test was not able to pick it up yet. In addition, even the best test is not 100% accurate and may still miss some positive cases.

Therefore, you must still continue with your home quarantine and fulfill the 10 days minimum quarantine. You are not allowed to go back to work or go out in public places. You should not even be mingling with your family members too much at home. Continue to observe all precautions to avoid potentially spreading the virus to your loved ones.

Self Quarantine, even when your initial rt-PCR is negative

You are asked to quarantine yourself at home if you are a close contact, even when your initial rt-PCR test is negative.

Below are some possible outcomes during your self quarantine:

  1. You are asymptomatic throughout the 10 days, in which case, you are now free to end your self quarantine. There is no need to do a second rt-PCR test.
  2. You are initially asymptomatic and later develop some mild flu-like symptoms. In this case, you will have to extend your quarantine, counting your first day from the first day of your symptoms. For example, if you were asymptomatic for 3 days, and then developed symptoms on day 4, then Day 4 becomes your first day of quarantine. Thus, your total days of quarantine is now 13 days, instead of the earlier 10 days. In addition, you will need to repeat your rt-PCR test.
  3. You are symptomatic from the first day of your quarantine, but your symptoms gradually subsided and you no longer have symptoms. In this case, you can end your quarantine after the 10 days.

Monitoring your symptoms

In monitoring your symptoms, look out for symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, bodyache, headache. Note the first day any of these symptoms arisen. If you were initially asymptomatic and then became symptomatic, your quarantine will need to be extended as we have mentioned above. You will also need to do a second rt-PCR test.

Be wary if you develop symptoms like difficulty in breathing, severe tiredness and bodyache. They may indicate a severe infection. Whenever you are in doubt, consult a doctor.

I have hypertension and diabetes. Should I sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine?

I have hypertension and diabetes. Should I sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine?

This is a very frequently asked question. Many lay people seem to believe that if one has pre-existing medical condition(s), such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, etc, then one is not suitable to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

This believe is inaccurate, and is in fact the reverse of what doctors have been advising. We have consistently been saying that people with pre-existing medical conditions, especially if they are above 60 years old, are at a higher risk of getting severe Covid if they should be unfortunate enough to be infected, and may end up in ICU or even death. As such, this group of people are especially likely to benefit from the Covid-19 vaccine.

Therefore, the logical thing to do is to get this group of people vaccinated as soon as possible, regardless of which type of vaccines one may be getting.

What you should know when signing up for the AstraZeneca vaccine

What you should know when signing up for the AstraZeneca vaccine

Here is a good write-up about what you need to know about the AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine to help you decide whether you would like to sign up for it or not.

Click here for the article. Pay particular attention to the section on the possibility of blood clots as a side-effect.

In summary, the risk of a blood clot is very, very small. This blood clot risk decreases with increasing age, which is why the AZ vaccine is recommended only for those above 60 years old in some countries. However, there are also other countries that have not recommended the use of this vaccine at all for their populations.

The final decision is yours. No one can make this decision for you. Not even your doctor. If you feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, especially in this current surge, then go for it. If you feel otherwise, then don’t.

You have Covid-19. What next?

You have Covid-19. What next?

Here is a good write-up on what you need to do if you are tested positive for Covid-19. It is important – for your own well-being as well as the well-being of your family members and friends – that you do what needs to be done. When things are not done properly or according to protocols, we help to further spread the virus to others.

Click here for the write-up.

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

This is a well-written and well-researched article by Dr. Amar Singh, and would be of great interest for those who have history of allergy and are considering taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

As we implement the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, those of us who are healthcare professionals have numerous friends and acquaintances asking us about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.

In particular, is the issue of the risk of taking the vaccine if we have a history of allergies. It is recognised that some individuals get a rare, serious side effect, for example, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis can occur after taking a drug, from a bee sting, eating some food item, etc, and not just vaccines. We often never know who is going to react in this way.

Click here for the complete article.

Healing the body with the power of the mind

Healing the body with the power of the mind

Researchers have long studied the healing power of the mind on the body. What they have concluded is that when the element of belief is strong, healing the body with the mind is possible.

The placebo effect

The placebo effect has become a well-recognised phenomenon in modern-day medical treatments. A placebo is defined as an inert, innocuous substance that has no effect on the body. When given a placebo, patients simply believe they are taking an actual drug and subsequently feel better because of it, although they didn’t actually receive any “active” treatment.

In this instance, “belief” is the factor that triggers the subconscious mind-healing programme. However, that trigger is not always obvious.

The current body of evidence now shows the benefits of placebos and sham surgeries that deliver the same effects as potent drugs or actual surgery, proving that the power of the mind or power of belief can really be a healing force. It accounts for one-third of all improvements and cures documented in many studies.

Science and mind healing

Scientist who have extensively researched this phenomenon in order to gain a fuller understanding of when and how mind-healing works have come to the conclusion that mind-healing powers lie in the subconscious.

The goal of the subconscious is to create coherence and agreement between what the mind believes and what is reality.

It allows the brain to accept beliefs as truths and act accordingly. Beliefs can either heal or make you sick.

The science of epigenetics can explain the way your mind heals your body. The primary factor that affects how a gene expresses itself is the cell’s environment, except for the case when a gene has a programmed defect.

Nutrients, hormones, brain chemicals, and toxins are the main factors that determine the quality of a cell’s environment.

However, the most important elements are perception and beliefs. The fact remains that your thoughts and emotions have an impact on the brain to make it release chemicals.

Because the healing and the damage-controlling property of your mind happens inside your body and takes place unconsciously, you normally don’t take any notice of its progress.

Mind–healing methods

Mind-healing techniques, both ancient and new, are to guide the subconscious to heal. When used correctly and consistently, these methods can bring positive effects to your mental and physical health.

Some common methods include visualisation, hypnosis, tapping and so on. It is important not to let your subconscious be primed, coaxed, manipulated, or bullied.

Mind-healing techniques can be used in combination with conventional medical treatment and natural remedies.

There are a variety of options such as therapy, herbs, medication, healing foods, emotional healing techniques, meditation, hypnosis or surgery.

This article first appeared in and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

There are a lot of news now about the Covid-19 vaccines. They are many different types coming into the market. This means that the different vaccines are made differently using specific methods, and therefore their safety profiles and efficacy are different as well.

To understand the Covid-19 vaccines better, it is useful to know:

  1. How vaccines are made or what are the different methods available in making a vaccine
  2. What are the clinical trials of vaccines so that you can understand what is meant by preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 and phase 4 trials.
  3. Types of Covid-19 vaccines (see a simple summary in the image below)
  4. All you want to know about the Malaysian Covid-19 vaccine programme and when you can expect to be vaccinated
Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

On 14 January 2021, the Health Ministry released a new guideline on the management of close contact – people who were exposed to patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

A person who is exposed for 15 minutes or more, at a distance of less than 6 feet, to someone diagnosed with Covid-19 infection is generally regarded as a close contact. The risk is increased if one or both were without a face mask during that contact.

All close contact must get their rt-PCR swab done.

A close contact can be asymptomatic or symptomatic.

  1. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and continues to be asymptomatic, self home quarantine ends after 10 days.
  2. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and then becomes symptomatic, this individual needs a second rt-PCR swab test and needs to be quarantined for 10 days, beginning from the first day of symptoms.
  3. If a close contact is symptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and the symptoms cleared, then quarantine ends after day 10.

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

As the number of Covid-19 patients increases, our hospitals are quickly running low in beds, tests, personnel and resources. As such, the Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for quarantine.

Those Covid-19 patients with no or mild symptoms are no longer admitted to our hospitals for quarantine. Instead, they are required to do self-quarantine at home.

For those who have tested positive for Covid-19, AND has no or very mild symptoms, here are the guidelines for home quarantine:

Home Quarantine Guidelines
Home Quarantine Guidelines for Patients
Guidelines for Duration of Quarantine

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Canadian doctors have claimed a first in the use of a common oral medication that appears to be effective in treating Covid-19 infections.

In a study that involved 4,159 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 with PCR tests, patients taking colchicine were able to reduce risk of death or hospitalisation by 21% compared to placebo. The need for mechanical ventilation was reduced by 50% and death by 44%.

For more on this story, click here.