Schwabbs Pharmacy

AD | UTIs, health anxiety, and a simple solution

[This post is sponsored by Velieve]

Of all the things I’ve worried about this year — and this year has brought a LOT of things for us all to worry about — one thing in particular has kept coming back to haunt me: the fear of someone in the family becoming ill, and not being able to see a doctor, or access the necessary care, because of Covid-19 and the impact it’s had on our health service.

Unlike some of my health-related fears, however, this one wasn’t totally irrational. Back at the start of the spring lockdown, for instance, both Max and Terry ended up needing to see doctors, and be prescribed medication: a process that ended up being so lengthy and stressful that I spent the next few weeks worrying obsessively that something as simple as an easily-treated infection could end up becoming really serious — either because of the long delays we faced in trying to get a diagnosis, or because the thought of heading into a medical facility at the height of a pandemic really didn’t appeal.

One of the things I worried about most in this particular context? UTIs. Or urinary tract infections, to give them their full title.

Velieve Urinary Tract Infection test kitNow, UTIs, as I’m sure you know, are incredibly common — especially in women — and while I don’t get them all that often, when I DO get one, I can pretty much guarantee three things:

01. It will start on a Friday afternoon, when I’ve no chance of getting an appointment with my GP until Monday at the very earliest. (And probably not even then, I mean, let’s be honest…)

02. It will be excruciatingly painful, fading — if I’m lucky, and only after multiple glasses of water — to just horribly uncomfortable.

03. It will require prescription medication to get rid of it.

Now, I know what you’re about to say here, and trust me: whatever home remedy for UTIs you’re about to suggest to me, I’ve tried it. No, seriously, I have. I’ve tried the cranberry juice, the heat pads, that herbal remedy someone recommended that one time… you name it. Other than the aforementioned gallon of water — followed by an evening spent sitting on the toilet — absolutely none of those things have worked particularly well for me, which means that every single UTI I’ve had in the last decade or so has required a trip to the doctor’s surgery: which would be fine, obviously, except… I have health anxiety. And, even without the added complications of a global pandemic and nationwide lockdown, most GPs aren’t open at 5pm on a Friday afternoon, anyway, are they?

Even if you take health anxiety out of the mix, though, I’m pretty sure no one needs me to point out that UTIs are no fun at all: especially the ones that end up completely taking out your weekend, purely because the medication that would’ve stopped them in their tracks wasn’t readily available — which is why I was so interested in this new UTI test kit from Velieve, which allows you to do a test at home using your phone (Yes, really…), and then have the results analysed by a medical professional, qualified to write you a prescription, if needed. Here’s what it looks like:

Velieve UTI test kit for home useInside the kit you’ll find a cup and lid (Yes, to pee into. No, it’s not glamorous, but neither is spending three days crippled with a UTI, so…), a reagent strip which is used for urine analysis, an absorbing pad and a colour board. The basic idea is that you use the reagent strip to test the urine , then place it at the centre of the colour board, where you’ll leave it for 60 seconds, before using the in-app scanner to scan the board.

Your test results are then sent, via the app, to a healthcare professional, who’ll be able to provide both a diagnosis and a prescription, if one is needed. The diagnosis is available within 30 minutes of submitting your completed test, and your prescription is sent directly to your local pharmacy, which means all you need to do is pick it up. Oh, and you can request that diagnosis 7 days per week, from 9am — 9pm, so your evening/weekend can be saved when that UTI is inconsiderate enough to strike outside of normal working hours.

The diagnosis is available within 30 minutes of submitting your completed test, and your prescription is sent directly to your local pharmacy, which means all you need to do is pick it up.

If You’re thinking all of that looks a bit complicated, though, worry not: the final part of the kit is the Velieve app, which you download to your phone before getting started. The app uses a virtual assistant (Emily) to walk you through the testing process step by step: it tells you exactly what to do and when, and it makes it so simple that, well, even I can do it. Yes.

usingthe Velieve UTI test kit to test for urinary tract infections at homeFor someone like me, who takes weeks to work up to a doctor’s appointment (Not exactly an option when it comes to UTIs…), and absolutely hates having to talk on the phone, this would be a real game-changer even at the best of times. During this prolonged period of Covid-19 restrictions, however, it’s an absolute Godsend: over the last few months, I’ve often found myself wishing there there was a way I could access medical help without having to physically attend a clinic, or attempt to explain myself over a phone call when I was at my most stressed, and this little kit is exactly that.

The Velieve kit is clinically tested and approved, adheres to the highest data security standards, and, if you’re in London, there’s even a four-hour delivery option available if you need it in a hurry. (Which, if you’re anything like me, you probably will…) Find out more, and order your test here.


My health anxiety story

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