What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 include a cough, sore throat, aches and pains, fever and fatigue. Some cases are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia.
From a case series of 138 patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, approximately one quarter required intensive care, Dr. Azar said. The most common early symptoms were:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath at day five
In late March, European and U.S. experts reported two new symptoms:
- Loss of smell
- Altered sense of taste
Opthamologists reported another, rare symptom – pink eye:
- Redness and swelling of the eyes
- Sticky discharge
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Dr. Azar notes that many people have mild symptoms at the beginning and later develop shortness of breath and respiratory distress.
Less frequently reported symptoms include nausea and vomiting, stuffy nose and diarrhea.
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When should you see a doctor?
First things first: Call your doctor or use telemedicine before you visit their office. Don’t go straight to a doctor’s office or emergency room, where you could unnecessarily expose other people.
Seek medical attention if you have fever, fatigue, cough or shortness of breath and are over the age of 60 or have underlying medical problems, Azar stressed. Anyone with shortness of breath, fever above 104 degrees, chest pain, intractable vomiting or diarrhea should seek medical attention.
But if you have mild, cold or flu-like symptoms, there’s no need to see a doctor.
“You don’t need medical attention if you have the sniffles,” Azar noted.
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How is coronavirus treated?
If you are managing symptoms at home, get rest, stay hydrated and take fever reducers like acetominophen or ibuprofen. In the hospitals, doctors will do the same thing but add breathing and oxygen assistance if necessary.
There is currently no vaccine or medicine that we know to be effective against coronavirus COVID-19, though some patients are being enrolled in trials with antivirals.
“Right now, if you test positive but have mild illness you would stay home while being monitored likely by the local or state health department,” Azar says.
A quarantine for possible exposure would be 14 days.