COVID-19 is a respiratory condition caused by coronavirus. Some people are infected but do not see any symptoms (doctors call it asymptomatic). Most people will have mild symptoms and improve themselves. But some will have more serious problems, such as shortness of breath. The chances of serious symptoms are higher if you are older or have another health condition such as diabetes or heart disease.
Here’s what to look for when you think you have COVID-19.
The most common causes for people suffering from COVID-19 include:
- Fever or cold
- Dry cough and shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired
- Muscle or body pain
- A headache
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
These symptoms can start anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Call a doctor or hospital immediately if you have any of the following problems:
- Breathing hard
- Chronic pain or pressure in your chest
- Green lips or face
- Sudden confusion
- Having a hard time staying awake
If you have any of these, you need medical attention as soon as possible, so call your doctor’s office or hospital before you enter. This will help them prepare to treat and protect medical personnel and other people.
Stroke was also reported in some people with COVID-19. Remember FAST:
- Face. Is one side of the human face numb or downward? Is their smile the opposite?
- Arms. Is one arm weak or numb? When they try to raise both arms, does one arm sink?
- Speech. Can they speak clearly? Ask them to repeat the sentence.
- Time. Every minute counts when someone is showing signs of a stroke. Call 911 immediately.
Researchers are working on a few possible therapies for COVID-19, but only FDA-approved anti-retroviral drug (Veklury), and approved for use in hospitals only. The FDA has authorized health care providers to use COVID-19-approved drugs, such as monoclonal antibodies, in certain special cases.
Other Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 may also cause problems including:
- The eyes are swollen
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Cough blood
- Blood clots
- Heart problems
- Kidney damage
- Liver problems or injuries
Some doctors have reported an eruption bound to COVID-19, which includes purple or blue sores on the toes and feet of children. The researchers looked at these reports to understand the effect on people with COVID-19.
Symptoms in Children
Researchers say that children have more COVID-19 symptoms than do adults, but they are usually milder. Some children may have no symptoms, but they may still be able to spread the virus.
Common symptoms in children include:
- Shortness of breath
Some children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 have an infection that can be linked to coronavirus. Doctors call it pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS). Symptoms include fever, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems. It is similar to a toxic shock or Kawasaki syndrome, a condition in children that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.
When to test for COVID-19
If you are not vaccinated, you should be tested if:
- Do you have any symptoms of COVID-19?
- You were between 6 feet and a person with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more in 24 hours. (This includes anyone who was not symptomatic.)
- You have been in a situation where you have been exposed to the virus, such as at a big party or a busy house party.
- You have been asked to be examined by your doctor, workplace, or school.
If you are vaccinated and feel symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor for guidance. There is no need to get tested if you are vaccinated and have no symptoms.
How to Diagnose Fever
Your normal body temperature may be higher or lower than someone else’s. It also changes all day. Doctors generally consider an adult fever to be above 100.4 F in the oral thermometer and above 100.8 F in a rectangular thermometer.
If you think you have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms, isolate yourself and check your temperature every morning and evening for at least 14 days. Keep a record of what you read. Influenza is the most common symptom of COVID-19, but sometimes less than 100 F. In a child, fever is a temperature above 100 F in the oral thermometer or 100.4 F in the rectal.
What Kind of Cough Is Common in People With Coronavirus?
Most people with COVID-19 have a dry cough that they can feel in their chest.
What to Do If You Think You Have Soft Symptoms
If you have mild symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or cough:
- Stay home unless you need medical help. If you need to go in, call your doctor or hospital first for guidance.
- Tell your doctor about your illness. If you are at high risk for problems due to your age or other health conditions, they may have additional instructions.
- Separate yourself. This means staying as far away from other people as possible, even your family members. Sit in the “sick room,” and use a separate bathroom if you can.
- Wear a face mask if you have to be in the middle of anyone else. This includes the people you live with. If the mask makes it difficult for you to breathe, keep at least 6 feet away from others and close your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Relax, and drink plenty of fluids. Prescription drugs may help you to feel better.
- Keep a record of what your signs are. If they get worse, get medical help right away.
How Does a Short Breath Feel?
Dyspnea is a term that doctors use when talking about the shortness of breath. It might sound like you:
- Be firm in your chest
- You can’t hold your breath
- You cannot get enough air into your lungs
- They swallow, drown, or drown
- You have to work harder than usual to breathe in or out
- You need to breathe before you can finish breathing
Is it COVID-19, Influenza, Influenza, or Allergies?
Since they share so many symptoms, it can be difficult to know what your condition is. But there are a few guidelines that can help.
You may have COVID-19 if you have a fever and have trouble breathing, as well as the symptoms listed above.
If you do not have breathing problems, it could be a fever. You should still isolate yourself if possible.
It is almost allergic to certain things if you do not have a fever but your eyes are itchy, you sneeze, and you have a runny nose.
If you do not have a fever and your eyes do not sting, it is probably a fever.
Call your doctor if you are worried about any symptoms.
Cold vs. Flu vs. Allergies vs. COVID-19
(can range from moderate to severe)
|Fever||Rare||High (100-102 F), Can last 3-4 days||Never||Common|
|General aches, pains||Slight||Usual, often severe||Never||Common|
|Fatigue, weakness||Mild||Intense, can last up to 2-3 weeks||Sometimes||Common|
|Extreme exhaustion||Never||Usual (starts early)||Never||Can be present|
|Stuffy/runny nose||Common||Sometimes||Common||Has been reported|
|Sneezing||Usual||Sometimes||Usual||Has been reported|
|Sore throat||Common||Common||Sometimes||Has been reported|
|Cough||Mild to moderate||Common, can become severe||Sometimes||Common|
|Shortness of breath||Rare||Sparse||Rare, except for those with allergic asthma||In more serious infections|
How to Protect Yourself
Many COVID-19 vaccines are available, and they are the best way to protect yourself and those around you unless your doctor prescribes otherwise. Complete vaccination reduces your chances of getting COVID-19 by 91%.
The most accessible vaccines in the U.S. is this:
- Pfizer: available for adults and children up to 12 years old, requires two doses, 3 weeks apart
- Moderna: available for 16 years and older, requires two doses per month
- Johnson & Johnson: available 18 years and older, requires one dose
Talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated if you have immune problems.
Until you are vaccinated, be sure to take these steps to prevent COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds each time, with soap and water.
- Use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you do not have soap and water nearby.
- Restrict your contact with other people. Keep at least 6 feet away from others if you have to go out.
- Wear a face mask in public places.
- Avoid sick people.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
- Regularly clean and disinfect the areas that you touch most.
Caring for a Person With Symptoms of COVID-19
If you are caring for a sick person, follow these steps to protect yourself:
- Limit contact as much as possible. Sit in separate rooms. If you must be in one room, use a fan or open window to improve airflow.
- Ask the sick person to wear a face mask when you are together. You should wear one, too.
- Do not share items such as electricity, bedding, or utensils.
- Use gloves when handling someone else’s containers, laundry, or trash. When you are done, discard the gloves and wash your hands.
- Regularly clean and disinfect common areas such as door handles, light switches, taps, and counters.
- Take care of yourself. Get enough rest and food. View COVID-19 indicators.
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