Please click here to view the full COVID-19 Fact Sheet.
Am I at greater risk of getting the coronavirus infection? As a person who does not have a spleen or has one that doesn’t work (a person without a functioning spleen) there is currently no evidence that you have an increased risk of respiratory viral infections. It is likely that your risk of getting this infection is the same as for the general population. Bacterial infections cause you the most trouble. However, people without a functioning spleen who have a COVID-19 infection may experience complications; especially those aged over 60 years, and have other chronic health conditions eg lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
What precautions should I take for my personal protection? There are personal hygiene measures you can take up to reduce the risk of getting infections, including COVID-19. Good handwashing technique using soap and water is essential. Avoid touching your face and practice sneezing and coughing into your elbow. The use of masks in the community is not recommended in general as the hygiene measures described above are known to be the most effective ways to reducing the spread of infection.
Should I have the flu and pneumococcal vaccinations? Spleen Australia recommends: (i) Annual influenza vaccination for everyone when it becomes available (April 2020). (ii) Pneumococcal vaccination – there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines that are recommended for you. Please check with your GP to see if you are up to date with these vaccines and also check the if you have received the recommended meningococcal and Hib vaccines.
Should I have a contingency plan if I got sick either with COVID-19 or a bacterial infection? In the case of widespread disruptions to medical supplies or illness, it might be necessary to have an increased supply of your daily antibiotics (if prescribed) in advance. You must also check the expiry date on your supply of emergency antibiotics. You can self-administer this supply should you become very unwell and unable to get your GP or local emergency department in a prompt manner. Always show your spleen alert card when you see a doctor.
Who should I contact if I have symptoms? Contact your GP if you have any symptoms or you are concerned. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
Australian singer Daryl Braithwaite is using a deeply personal experience to highlight the work of Spleen Australia.
As the Melbourne-based, but internationally known front man for iconic Australian band Sherbet in the 70s, Daryl has been without his spleen since 2016.
He knows only too well the health challenges faced by people without a spleen.
Away from rapturous acclaim whenever he performs the hit The Horses – which is also one of the most played songs at weddings around the world – Daryl has signed up as the patron of Spleen Australia.
And Daryl is using his knowledge of the impact of losing a spleen to help promote Spleen Australia’s newly revamped website.
Daryl’s spleen had to be removed in 2016 as a result of a gastric problem.
“Sometimes I think some of us in the music industry live in a bubble,” Daryl said when recalling the time when he fell ill having not faced any health issues in the past.
Daryl said it was scary going to the doctor and he was dreading the worse diagnosis. Fortunately, he didn’t have cancer, but the diagnosis was still serious, requiring surgery.
He felt the care he got in hospital was fantastic, especially from the doctors and nurses.
Health is very important to Daryl who wants to be around for his son Oscar.
Spleen Australia, based at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, helps people of all ages who do not have a functioning spleen by assisting them reduce their chances of getting a bacterial infection or other potentially serious complications.
Anyone who registers with Spleen Australia is provided with information about how to avoid infections and have access to a health information line.
Since the operation back in 2016 the now 71-year-old Braithwaite has been enjoying good health and continues to do all he can for bushfire victims.
And of course Daryl also wants to support people who do not have a functioning spleen by using his own story and experience to guide them towards maintaining ongoing good health.
In order to keep you up to date with the latest Spleen Australia activities and medical recommendations it is vital we have your up to date contact details, including mobile or home phone number, personal e-mail address and postal address.
To update your contact details, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 03 9076 3828 (Victoria and Tasmania), 1800 775 336 (QLD)
You are unable to access your Spleen Australia registration page once it has been completed. If there is anything you would like to change or let us know please get in contact with us.