As states begin to open slowly, you might be worried about being exposed to Covid-19. Even if you’re careful and your risk is low, it makes sense to be familiar with the symptoms, just in case.
In many ways, Covid-19 can mimic an influenza infection. But in some cases of Covid-19, the illness can progress beyond “flu-like” and quickly become an emergency situation. This is why it’s important to recognize when to seek medical help.
Typically, Covid-19 presents with a fever and dry cough. You might also experience a mild shortness of breath, muscle pain, sore throat, and chills. Some have reported a loss of taste.
In a majority of cases, those symptoms comprise the bulk of a patient’s discomfort. Most can recover at home, and medications can be taken to address symptoms. In these patients, Covid-19 does indeed resemble a common cold or flu.
However, in a small number of patients, symptoms are more severe, and their condition can quickly deteriorate. If you suspect you have Covid-19 and experience a worsening shortage of breath, or pain in the chest, you should seek emergency care. Some patients also exhibit blue-tinged lips or face, which is a side effect of oxygen shortage.
These are all signs that your infection might be more severe than most, and that you need medical attention quickly. Don’t delay in seeking professional care, because in a small minority of patients with Covid-19 the condition can change from seemingly mild to severe in just a few hours.
Those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease should also take special care when exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
Anyone who thinks they might be infected should contact their medical care provider immediately to inquire about testing procedures. In the meantime, avoid going out into public so that you reduce the risk of transmission to others.
If you think you need to proceed to the emergency room, call ahead of time to ask about their procedures (or have a friend or relative call for you). And of course, you can always call 911 if you feel that an emergency is imminent.