The Symptoms of COVID-19 You Should Know About

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In today’s modern world, we have vaccines for illnesses ranging from the flu to measles and polio. So what happens when there is a new illness in the world? We are currently living through something that will be in history books for years to come. We are living through COVID-19.

COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus 2019, has a wide range of symptoms, from respiratory problems to gastrointestinal symptoms. Many people see symptoms anywhere between two to fourteen days after exposure, although some may be asymptomatic, or show no symptoms.

So what is a coronavirus? The term “coronavirus” is actually an umbrella term to describe a family of viruses that infect birds and mammals. A novel coronavirus is a coronavirus that has not been previously identified; These viruses are unknown to man. Other examples of novel coronaviruses are the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003, and MERS, discovered in 2012. MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, has had two major outbreaks; One in 2012 and another in 2015. SARS has seemed to almost disappear, while MERS has sporadic and localized outbreaks.

Many novel coronaviruses begin in animals and evolve to eventually infect the human population. Both SARS and MERS was first found in animals; Both SARS and MERS were found in bats originally. Both of these illnesses evolved to infect humans, much like COVID-19, which was also originally found in bats.

covid-19 symptom flu elderly

There are many symptoms of COVID-19; Respiratory symptoms include cough and shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Those with COVID-19 may also experience a sore throat, fever, chills, muscle pain, and new loss of taste or smell. Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may also occur with the novel coronavirus. You may have every single symptom or at least two non-respiratory symptoms. While COVID-19 changes, more symptoms may come to surface.

Anybody can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe, although older adults and those with underlying medical conditions can have more serious complications from the illness. It is time to seek emergency medical attention when difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, new confusion, bluish lips or face, or inability to stay awake are present. Be sure to alert the emergency facility of the symptoms before entry to the facility; Many precautions need to be taken in order to keep the staff, patients, and the ill person safe.

So how is COVID-19 spread? How can you keep yourself safe? Many experts are not positive about many aspects of COVID-19, but it is believed to primarily be spread person-to-person. This means it is spread between people that are closer than six feet to each other (Social distancing guidelines state six feet is proper distance.) by respiratory droplets, which occur when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. A good rule of thumb is to stay two arms’ length away from other people. Hand washing is the number one way to increase the prevention of any disease, from the common cold to COVID-19. You should wash with warm water for at least 20 seconds with soap. If soap and water are not available, the next best option is to use hand sanitizer up to three times; After you use hand sanitizer three times, you need to wash using soap and water. Try to avoid touching your face before washing your hands, as droplets can be on your hands. When it is necessary for you to be out in public, use a face covering, regardless of whether or not you personally feel sick. Face coverings should NOT be used on those under the age of two, those with breathing problems, such as COPD, or those who are unable to remove the mask without assistance. Always remember to cover your coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

covid-19 wash hands

If you or somebody you care for falls ill to COVID-19, or experiences some or all of the symptoms, the first thing you should do is quarantine. There are two types of tests for COVID-19: Viral tests and Antibody tests. The viral test will show if you are currently ill with COVID-19, and the antibody tests will show if you ever had COVID-19. An antibody test may or may not show a current infection, as it can take anywhere from one to three weeks to develop the antibodies that will be present. Regardless of a positive or negative viral test, if you are feeling ill, you should still quarantine, and if you test negative, you can still get COVID-19.

COVID-19 is one of the more difficult illnesses to diagnose, considering the symptoms are so similar to other illnesses. This illness is so similar to the seasonal flu, although there is no vaccine for COVID-19, that many people that go to the doctor with cold or flu-like symptoms are instructed to quarantine for 14 days, or until their viral test returns. Think about it; How many times has your body ached after a long day, and you had a cough, possibly due to allergies? Since some people experience mild symptoms, many continue on their day as if they aren’t ill. Some people don’t experience any symptoms out of the ordinary for thirteen days, and suddenly, have difficulty breathing and chest pain.

There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19, and researchers and doctors are working diligently every day to expand the knowledge on the illness. As cases rise, all we can do is try our best to flatten the curve, and maintain proper social distancing. As the disease mutates, more symptoms may come out of it. On the other hand, this may be just like the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003; It may seemingly disappear. Only time will tell the story of COVID-19.

References:

https://www.livescience.com/what-are-coronaviruses.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/coronaviruses