The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that can be easily spread from person to person. Currently, COVID-19 can be difficult to identify because it shares many symptoms with the flu. Here is what you need to know.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
After 2-14 days of exposure to COVID-19, symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
You should get medical attention immediately if these symptoms develop into:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges you to consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
How are these symptoms different from symptoms of the flu, common cold, or allergies?
Cold and allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy eyes
- Stuffy nose
The flu and coronavirus share some similar symptoms that tend to affect the whole body, including:
- Body aches
- Worsening symptoms
COVID-19 includes some differentiating symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Additionally, COVID-19 symptoms can be linked to a recent history of travel or proximity to high-risk areas and other possible exposures.
How should I take preventative measures?
If you are immuno-compromised, are an older adult, or if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, you should take extra preventative measures to protect yourself, according to the CDC. Stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial means. Also consider stocking up on supplies.
When do I need to call my doctor?
You should call your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms. If you are mildly ill with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you stay at home during your illness to help prevent spreading the disease to other people.
When should I get tested for COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of a possible COVID-19 infection, ask your healthcare provider or hospital how to get tested. It is best to first ask your doctor about testing before going.
“They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home,” the CDC says.