It is common knowledge that cancer is the no. 1 killer in Singapore, but most people are not aware that pneumonia is the next most common cause of death here. This serious inflammatory disease of the lungs, which can affect anyone, often starts with symptoms like fever, chills, muscle pain and cough with phlegm.
If untreated, the illness will gradually worsen as the patient starts to experience chest pain and breathlessness due to low levels of oxygen in the blood. This could lead to complications that may result in death.
It sounds scary and painful, but pneumonia is actually a curable disease. This is why it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you or a loved one starts experiencing these symptoms. We understand that when you are going through these levels of discomfort and have difficulty breathing, it becomes even more challenging to leave your home and wait in line to see a doctor at a clinic.
Instead, did you know you can actually get a pneumonia consultation in the comfort of your own home? Speedoc’s doctors have been treating pneumonia cases for a long time and they are well experienced in the care protocol for home patients. Besides this being one of the more common cases that we see, it is also unfortunately one of the leading causes of deaths that we certify. This is why we strongly urge patients to seek medical help at an early stage of the disease before the severity worsens and complications kick in.
Pneumonia is actually one of the illnesses that has a clear scoring system called CURB65 that uses various measurements like urea level, respiratory rate and blood pressure to determine how severe the illness is. Based on the scoring system as well as other clinical indicators, our Speedoctor can then decide if the patient is suitable for home care or if the situation requires more critical care. In this situation, we can help to arrange ambulance transport to the hospital where more intensive treatment such as IV drips can be administered.
For those who qualify for treatment and recuperation at home, our doctors will prescribe the necessary medicine such as oral antibiotics. Patients will also be briefed on the red flags to be aware of – such as wheezing or whistling sounds when breathing. We also give clear instructions on when to escalate treatment to a hospital, should that be necessary.
The Speedoc care does not end after the consultation. Our doctors will conduct regular text follow-ups via the Speedoc in-app chat to monitor the patient. Patients may also use the chat function to check in with the doctor if there is anything they are unsure about. If need be, you may also use our app to request for a nurse-on-call or an ambulance on demand.
As pneumonia is highly infectious and easily spreadable, the best way to prevent the onset of this disease is to get a vaccination. The pneumococcal vaccine, which provides long-term protection, will provide you with the ease of mind for years. So, the next time you go for your annual flu vaccination (something else that we strongly advocate), check with your doctor if you are suitable for a pneumococcal vaccine too. As they say, prevention is certainly better – and more affordable – than cure.