The COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe. In the United States, this virus is on schedule to be one of the leading causes of death in 2020. To stay safe, it’s important to do things like practice social distancing, wear a mask, and properly wash your hands.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the list of symptoms for COVID-19. The CDC notes that symptoms can be mild or severe, and appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Coughing is one of the main symptoms of this infection. In fact, coughing has been one of the biggest signs of infection since the outbreak first started.
Obviously, other things could cause a cough. These range from a dry throat to a seasonal allergy. But if you’re coughing (especially if it’s a dry cough) and you don’t know what else could be causing it, COVID-19 may be the culprit.
2. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Shortness of breath or general difficulty breathing are also major warning signs. Like with the cough, you should consider these symptoms to be red flags if they appear suddenly and without warning.
If you suddenly get winded going up a couple flights of stairs or going on short walks, you may be infected with COVID-19. Shortness of breath generally means you should visit your doctor immediately, especially if it is paired with pain or pressure in your chest.
A fever is one of the most telltale signs of infections. In fact, many large businesses have implemented (or plan to implement) a system where visitors and employees must check their temperature before entering the area.
Obviously, other things can cause a fever. Your primary care physician can help you get to the bottom of whether this is COVID-19 or not.
Despite what the Grease soundtrack might have taught you, it’s very bad when you have chills and “they’re multiplying.” In fact, it may be a symptom of COVID-19 infection!
If you feel cold despite bumping up the heat or bundling up, you may be dealing with COVID-19, especially if you end up with a fever later. Remember, if your face or lips start to look blue, seek emergency medical attention immediately!
5. Muscle pain
Muscle pain can be a major COVID-19 warning sign. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to isolate this from other potential causes. For example, you could have muscle pain from working out too intensely or simply from a restless night of sleep.
COVID-19 muscle pain generally makes your muscle feel tender and painful to touch. As with the other warning signs, you should try to rule out other possibilities and verify whether this was caused by infection. Incidentally, this is similar to other viral muscle pain, so you may know what to look for based on past experience.
Although COVID-19 muscle pain is often generalized, it also has been reported that many patients experience the muscle pain in their lower back.
6. New loss of taste or smell
Have you experienced a sudden loss of taste or smell? Believe it or not, this symptom is so serious that it warrants an immediate COVID-19 test!
As with other symptoms, you’re likely to experience this along with other ailments. However, a sudden loss of your senses is relatively unique and serves as a distinct warning sign. If you are experiencing this symptom, quarantine yourself immediately and give your doctor a call.
7. Sore throat
As far as symptoms go, a sore throat is a lot like muscle pain. On one hand, it’s a symptom that is common to many confirmed cases. On the other hand, there are countless other potential causes of a sore throat.
Pay attention to whether your sore throat began at the same time as any other physical ailments. And if it doesn’t go away on its own in a relatively short time, you should consult with your physician.
Emergency Warning Signs: When to Call 911
Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 include:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you or a family member exhibit any of these emergency warning signs, seek immediate emergency medical attention.