The first two things that people are concerned about when the coronavirus pandemic broke out was the protection from the viral disease along with how exactly do we know if we contracted COVID-19.
With the nature of these symptoms which are almost similar to a flu and other known respiratory disorders, a lot of people have been convinced that the viral disease is nothing out of the ordinary. But the gravity of its transmission has obviously negated this initial belief.
As weeks have gone by, experts have gained better understanding on the identity of coronavirus along with its pathogenicity, mode of transmission, physiology, etc.
New information is released particularly on symptoms that millions of infected individuals have experienced.
Understanding COVID-19 Symptoms
Here are the list of common symptoms COVID-19 patients have experienced:
- Dry Cough
- Sore Throat
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pains
- Body Aches
- Loss of Sense of Taste or Smell
Other infrequent symptoms:
COVID-19 is identified as a respiratory disorder considering the fact that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus strain that causes the disease, has been documented to target the pulmonary region (lungs, trachea, mucosal membranes). Breathing troubles ranging from mild to severe are evident as well as fever and muscle pains. Loss of senses particularly taste and smell has been newly recorded from many COVID-19 cases.
In understanding how these symptoms develop, it is important to establish that they are primarily caused by the immune responses of the body. As the virus enters the upper and lower respiratory tracts, invades the healthy cells, and reproduces tirelessly, our immune system raises an alarm to produce antibodies, raise body temperature, and forces the infected individual to preserve energy in order to fight off the viral pathogen. Dry cough is experienced in an attempt to clear the respiratory tracts of foreign objects and other types of irritants.
When the infection progresses, pneumonia develops among patients. Difficulty in breathing and chest pains are caused by the inflammation of the respiratory lining subsequently filling the air sacs of the lungs with inflammatory materials and fluids. This blockage interrupts the reception of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide.
When to Seek Medical Care?
Self-assessing the aforementioned symptoms can be very tricky. In this case, you will have to ask assistance from your healthcare provider to confirm the infection in the earliest time possible especially if the symptoms are persistent and directly indicative of COVID-19. It is important to consider that patients may have varied experiences in developing the said symptoms. Some may show gradually while others are exhibited as one.
Moreover, emergency medical attention must be sought after if these severe symptoms are observed:
- Breathing Problems
- Bluish Lips or Face
- Chronic Chest Pains or Pressures
- Drowsiness and Extreme tiredness
Are you at Risk?
Most documented COVID-19 cases range from mild to moderate. However, specific individuals are at higher risk of experiencing the severity of the infection, specifically those who are most likely to catch the infection, those who are incapable of fighting off the virus, and those who will indubitably have difficulties in recovering from the infection.
People with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, liver and gastrointestinal disorders, asthma, chronic kidney and lung diseases, severe obesity, and blood disorders appear to have higher risk of succumbing to the infection eventually leading to further complications or death.
Immunocompromised individuals such as those who are diagnosed with cancer, and hiv are also more prone to infection and could have difficulties recovering due to the irregular functions of their immune system. Likewise, Older people , usually those who are aged 65 years old and above, are at higher risk due to their relatively weak immune responses.
If you are at risk of acquiring COVID-19, you have to take the following actions:
- Practice social distancing and home quarantine at all cost.
- Continue taking your medications.
- Connect with your healthcare provider as frequent as possible.
- Monitor underlying medical conditions regularly via at-home tests.
- Seek immediate emergency care for your underlying medical condition if necessary.
The bulk of information on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can easily be recognized in multiple streams nowadays but most of us can never get enough to make us completely safe. Therefore, we don’t simply read and absorb information, we have to make sense out of it.
If you feel apprehensive about COVID-19, always be vigilant of the symptoms and do an initial assessment of the likelihood of catching the virus.
Consult your healthcare provider and most importantly don’t panic.