This page was originally set up to support patients whilst surgeries stood down non-urgent work for the accelerated covid vaccine booster roll-out.
We have kept the page online as it provides a useful go to page for when you think you are seriously ill.
Please see the table below. If you think you are seriously ill, please contact us.
This list cannot possibly cover all the symptoms or features that might indicate serious illness. If you are worried that you are poorly, or have a symptom that you are not sure about, please contact us.
Please visit our cancer symptoms page.
Please visit our get help summary page to be signposted to other sources of help.
PLEASE NOTE: You can print this page for offline reading or to pass to a friend or relative who does not have internet access.
This is the print version of the page at ivy.gs/poorly and is therefore limited in functionality. We encourage you to try and access this page online or ask a relative or friend to access the page on your behalf.
Please review this table. If you have mostly symptoms indicating you might be seriously ill, please contact us.
PLEASE NOTE: This page cannot list all possible symptoms that might indicate serious illness. If you are unsure or concerned that you might be or are becoming seriously ill, please contact us.
Less likely to be seriously ill
More likely to be seriously ill
|Carrying out all or most normal activities, e.g., home life, work, going to school, sporting activity||Stopped doing most things, e.g., chores, getting out of bed, going out|
|Responsive to talking / commands / gestures, playful, interested||Unresponsive, uninterested, uncommunicative|
|Easily roused, awake, mobilising||Difficult to rouse, drowsy, lethargic, floppy|
|Orientated (knows where one is), alert||Disorientated, confused|
|Condition largely unchanged from normal||General condition rapidly worsening|
|Had condition a long time (months/years) without change, stable||Condition suddenly come on (hours / days / weeks), active worsening of existing long-term condition|
|Normal temperature, or mild temperature||High temperature, or not coming down with paracetamol / ibuprofen|
|No chills, shakes, shivers||Continual chills, shakes and shivers affecting entire body|
|No vomiting or sporadic vomiting||Persistent vomiting|
|Drinking and peeing as normal||Not drinking much and/or peeing much less than usual, or more than 6 hours since last pee|
|Eating as normal or slightly less than usual||Not eating anything at all, even junk food|
|Breathing normally, or slightly faster than usual||Rapid breathing, gasping or struggling for air, hunching shoulders to breathe, or sucking in skin under / between ribs or in notch in neck|
|No pain or pain levels up to 4 or 5 out of 10, can still sleep with pain and do most things||Severe pain (7+ out of 10), pain scores approaching 9 or 10, pain stopping sleep
NB: 9/10 = excrutiatingly unbearable, can't speak, moaning, delirium
10/10 = unconscious, bedridden, passed out
|On the palliative care or end of life register|
© Dr Michael Wong 2022