Scientists learn more every day about the mysterious novel coronavirus and the symptoms of Covid-19, the disease it causes.
Fever, coughing and shortness of breath are found in the majority of all cases of Covid-19. But there are additional signals from viruses, some that are very flu-like or flu, and some that are more unusual.
Any or all symptoms can appear from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are 10 signs that you or your loved one might have Covid-19 – and what needs to be done to protect yourself and your family.
1. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is usually not an early symptom of Covid-19, but it is the most serious. It can happen by itself, without coughing. If your chest becomes tight or you begin to feel as though you can’t breathe deeply enough to fill your lungs with air, that is a sign of action immediately, said the experts.
“If there is shortness of breath contact your health care provider immediately, local emergency care or the emergency department,” said President of the American Medical Association Dr. Patrice Harris.
“If shortness of breath is severe enough, you should call 911,” Harris added.
The CDC lists other emergency warning signs for Covid-19 as “persistent pain or pressure in the chest,” and “bluish lips or face,” which can indicate lack of oxygen.
Get immediate medical attention, says the CDC.
Fever is a key sign of Covid-19. Because some people can have core body temperatures lower or higher than normal temperatures of 37.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), experts say don’t focus on numbers.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who fights the virus from his home in New York, is one of them.
“I ran a little cold. My normal temperature was 97.6, not 98.6. So even when I’m at 99 it won’t be a big problem for most people. But, for me, I’m already warm,” Cuomo said. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta at CNN City Hall.
However, most children and adults will not be considered to have a fever until the temperature reaches 37.7 degrees Celsius.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about fever,” Dr. John Williams, head of the children’s infectious disease division at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh University Medical Center, Pittsburgh.
“We all really go up and down a little during the day by half a degree or one degree,” Williams said, adding that for most people “99.0 degrees or 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit is not a fever.”
Don’t rely on temperatures taken in the morning, said infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. Instead, take your body temperature in the afternoon and evening.
“Our temperature is not the same at noon. If you bring it at eight o’clock in the morning, it might be normal,” Schaffner explained.
“One of the most common symptoms of fever is that your body temperature rises in the afternoon and evening. That is the common way the virus produces fever.”
3. Dry cough
Coughing is another common symptom, but it is not an ordinary cough.
“It’s not a tickle in your throat. You’re not just clearing your throat. Not just upset,” Schaffner explained.
Coughing is annoying, dry cough that you feel deep in your chest.
“It comes from your sternum or sternum, and you can say that your bronchial tubes are inflamed or irritated,” Schaffner added.
A report issued by the World Health Organization in February found more than 33% of 55,924 people with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases had coughing up phlegm, thick phlegm which is sometimes called phlegm, from their lungs.
4. Shivering and body aches
“The beast comes out at night,” Cuomo said, referring to chills, body aches, and high fever who visited him on April 1.
“It feels like someone beat me like a pinata. And I was shivering so much … I bit my teeth. They call them harshness, ” she says from his cellar, where he was quarantined from other family members.
“I’m hallucinating. My father talked to me. I saw people from college, people I had never seen forever, it was strange,” Cuomo said.
Not everyone will have a severe reaction, experts say. Some may not shiver or get sick at all. Other people may experience colds such as milder flu, fatigue and pain in the joints and muscles, which can make it difficult to know whether it’s the flu or the corona virus to blame.
One sign you might have Covid-19 is if your symptoms don’t improve after a week or so but actually get worse.
5. Sudden confusion
Speaking of worsening signs, the CDC said sudden confusion or inability to wake up and be alert might be a serious sign that emergency treatment might be needed. If you or a loved one has these symptoms, especially with other critical signs such as bluish lips, difficulty breathing or chest pain, CDC said to seek help immediately.
6. Digestive problems
At first science did not think of diarrhea or other typical gastric problems that often came with the flu that was applied to noval coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2. More and more research on survivors has changed.
“In a study outside China where they saw some of the earliest patients, around 200 patients, they found that gastrointestinal symptoms actually existed in about half of patients,” Gupta told CNN’s New Day news program.
Overall, “I think we get a little more insight into the types of symptoms that patients may have,” Gupta said.
This study illustrates a unique subset of mild cases where the initial symptoms are digestive problems such as diarrhea, often without fever. These patients experience delays in testing and diagnosis compared to patients with respiratory problems, and they need more time to clear the virus from their system.
7. Pink eyes
Research from China, South Korea and other parts of the world shows that about 1% to 3% of people with Covid-19 also suffer from conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye.
Conjunctivitis, a condition that is very contagious when caused by a virus, is inflammation of the thin and transparent layer of tissue, called the conjunctiva, which covers the whites of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids.
But SARS-CoV-2 is just one of many viruses that can cause conjunctivitis, so it is not surprising to scientists that this newly discovered virus will do the same thing.
However, pink or red eyes can be another sign that you should contact your doctor if you also have other symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
8. Loss of smell and taste
In mild to moderate coronavirus cases, loss of smell and taste appears as one of the most unusual early signs of Covid-19.
“What is called anosmia, which basically means loss of smell, seems to be a symptom that develops in a number of patients,” said CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on New Day.
“This may be related to loss of appetite, related to loss of appetite, we are not sure – but it’s definitely something to look out for,” Gupta said. “Sometimes these early symptoms are not classical.”
“Anosmia, in particular, has been seen in patients who have finally tested positive for corona virus without other symptoms,” according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
A recent analysis of mild cases in South Korea found that the main symptom in 30% of patients was loss of smell. In Germany, more than two out of three confirmed cases have anosmia.
It has long been known in the medical literature that sudden loss of smell can be linked to respiratory infections caused by other types of coronaviruses, so it’s not surprising that a novel coronavirus will have this effect, based on Great Britain (PDF), a professional organization representing ear, nose and throat surgeons in the United Kingdom.
Is there anything you can do at home to test whether you suffer from loss of smell? The answer is yes use “jellybean test” to find out if the odor flows from the back of your mouth through your nasal pharynx and into your nasal cavity. if you can choose different flavors such as oranges and lemons, your sense of smell works well.
For some people, extreme fatigue can be an early sign of a new coronavirus. WHO report found nearly 40% of nearly 6,000 people with laboratory-confirmed cases experiencing fatigue.
Only a few days into quarantine, Cuomo was exhausted due to fever and illness suffered by the disease.
“I was so lethargic that I could look outside, and, like, an hour and a half passed,” Cuomo said to Gupta. Anderson Cooper 360. “I think I took a 10 minute nap, and that was three and a half hours.”
Fatigue can continue long after the virus has disappeared. Anecdotal reports from people who have recovered from Covid-19 say fatigue and lack of energy continue through the standard recovery period of several weeks.
10. Headaches, sore throats, congestion
The WHO report also found that nearly 14% of the nearly 6,000 cases of Covid-19 in China had symptoms of headaches and sore throats, while almost 5% had nasal congestion.
Certainly not the most common signs of this disease, but certainly similar to colds and flu. In fact, many of the symptoms of Covid-19 can resemble flu, including the headaches and digestive problems mentioned earlier, body aches and fatigue. Other symptoms can still resemble colds or allergies, such as sore throat and nasal congestion.
Most likely, say experts, you only have the flu or flu – after all, they can cause fever and cough too.
So what should you do?
“At this time, the current guidelines – and this may change – is that if you have symptoms that are similar to the flu and flu and these are mild to moderate symptoms, stay at home and try to manage them” with rest, hydration and use of drugs fever-lowering, said AMA’s Harris.
That advice does not apply if you are over 60 years old, because the immune system weakens with age or if you are pregnant. Anyone who is worried about coronavirus should contact their health care provider, according to the CDC.
It is not clear whether pregnant women have a greater likelihood of coronavirus disease, but the CDC says that women experience changes in their bodies during pregnancy which can increase the risk of some infections.
In general, Covid-19 infection is more risky if you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung disease or asthma, heart failure or heart disease, sickle cell anemia, cancer (or undergoing chemotherapy), kidney disease with dialysis, body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 (very fat) or autoimmune disorders.
“Older patients and individuals who have an underlying or immunocompromised medical condition should contact their doctor early in the course of an even mild illness,” advises the CDC.
To be clear, you run a higher risk – even if you are young – if you have an underlying health problem.
“People under 60 with an underlying disease, with diabetes, heart disease, immunocompromised or have a type of lung disease before, people are more vulnerable despite their younger age,” Schaffner said.
The history of traveling to areas where novel coronaviruses are widespread (and parts of the world, including the US, rising every day) is clearly another key factor in deciding whether your symptoms may be Covid-19 or not.
How to be evaluated
If you don’t have symptoms, please don’t ask for tests or increase the number of calls at testing centers, clinics, hospitals and the like, experts say.
“We are not testing people without symptoms because this is a matter of resources,” Schaffner said of the assessment center at Vanderbilt. “However, we emphasize that people who have a small group of these important symptoms – fever and anything related to the lower respiratory tract such as coughing and breathing difficulties – reach out for evaluation.”
If you have all three signs, where do you go?
“If you have insurance and you are looking for a provider or someone to contact or connect with, there is always a number on the back of your insurance card; or if you are online, there is information for patients,” Harris said.
“If you don’t have insurance, you can start with the state health department or the local community health center, which is officially known as a health center that meets federal requirements,” Harris advises, adding that some states have a 1-800 hotline number to call .
“If there is a testing and assessment center near you, you can go right there,” Schaffer said. “It’s always good to let them know that you will come. If not, you should contact your health care provider and they will direct you what to do.”
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