“Not everybody with a cough needs to go to A&E!”

Pictures of lungs of younger patients affected by COVID-19 released by A&E doctor Ignace Demeyer on Monday night have received international attention.  The doctor spoke of “pictures that were frankly scary” taken of relatively young patients, who attended his A&E after being short of breath.  Dr Demeyer now says that not everybody with a cough needs to panic.

Following his appearance on VRT TV on Monday night the accident and emergency doctor from Aalst (East Flanders) received countless calls, even from the international media.  His words had triggered quite a reaction and many were worried.  Dr Demeyer now says that not everybody with a cough needs to turn up at an A&E.

“If you have serious lung damage, you will start speaking in fits and starts.  It’s when you can’t get to the end of one sentence.  In such cases you may have suffered lung damage.”

Being short of breath doesn’t mean the same to everybody.

“If you have difficulty carrying on a conversation and you have to stop because of a shortage of breath, then that is an indication that you should go to hospital.”

These are symptoms linked to COVID-19, but most patients have milder symptoms and are urged to stay away from busy accident and emergency departments. 

Peter Persyn (57) told VRT News: “I became a little unwell last week Wednesday.  I had a sore throat and a tickly cough, but no temperature.  By Thursday I had a serious throat infection, a deep-seated cough and pressure in my chest.”

He also experienced muscle pains. Mr Persyn works with older people and got tested.  He was diagnosed with novel coronavirus.  He believes he got infected by his daughters, who were ill the previous week.

“They didn’t have a fever, but rather a runny nose, didn’t feel well and a sore throat.”

“It’s always been said COVID-19 involves a fever and flu like symptoms.  For many people this doesn’t seem to be the case.  It’s being suggested fever is part and parcel of the disease, but that’s not always the case.”