We all know how to recognize signs of food poisoning or the common cold, but coronavirus is a new disease to everyone. You may not immediately recognize the symptoms, or you may associate your symptoms with the flu.
Make sure you’re aware of the most common signs and symptoms of the coronavirus so that you can take the proper steps to protect yourself and others.
Common Signs of Coronavirus
The coronavirus currently spreading around the world is part of a family of viruses known to cause respiratory illness. In the past, members of the coronavirus family such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) caused deadly outbreaks in the United States and other countries.
The virus we call the coronavirus is formally titled severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that we also simply call “coronavirus.”
Until it developed in Wuhan, China in December 2019, COVID-19 was unknown to the scientific and medical community. As a result, our understanding of the signs and symptoms of coronavirus is continually evolving. After studying COVID-19 for more than four months, experts have identified three of the most common symptoms linked to the disease:
- Shortness of breath
- Cough that becomes more severe over time
- Low-grade fever that gradually increases in temperature
Some people only experience these symptoms in their mildest form, while others, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, suffer severe symptoms.
When Do Symptoms of COVID-19 Appear?
It is believed that people can carry the coronavirus for a length of time as short as two days or as long as two weeks before developing symptoms. This is why the implementation of the 14-day quarantine has become so essential in stopping the spread of disease.
How to Respond to Symptoms
As soon as you notice symptoms that may indicate COVID-19, it’s vital that you quarantine yourself away from others. This disease is highly contagious and spreads rapidly, so precaution can prevent the people around you from contracting the virus.
Most people with mild symptoms are able to recover at home without any medical treatment. Stay in home isolation and monitor your symptoms. If you develop any of the following complications, contact your doctor immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or extreme fatigue
- Bluish lips or face
Follow the guidance of your healthcare provider to determine the best form of treatment.
When Is it Safe to Leave Self Isolation?
If you recover from COVID-19 at home, it’s important to remain in home isolation until you are healthy and no longer contagious. Follow these steps to ensure you don’t end your isolation too early.
With a COVID-19 Test
If you have access to COVID-19 testing or are instructed by your doctor to undergo testing, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You no longer have a fever (without the use of medication)
- All of your symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) have improved
- You receive TWO negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart
Without a COVID-19 Test
If you will not receive a test to determine if you’re still sick or contagious, you can only leave home after these three things have happened:
- You have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of medication)
- All of your symptoms have improved
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
By following these steps and paying close attention to symptoms, we can all do our part to slow the spread of coronavirus and help our country recover from this pandemic.