Leah has been a health content creator for over 4 years. Her work helps make health information and healthcare more accessible. She is passionate about healthcare equality and hopes to help patients make informed health choices.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
May 4, 2021
Many symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever) mirror the symptoms of seasonal flu. This makes it hard to figure out if you have a common cold, flu, or COVID-19.
Recent research found that COVID-19 symptoms typically follow an order. Knowing a typical COVID-19 symptoms timeline can help folks recognize early COVID symptoms, decide when to seek treatment, and isolate sooner.
The most likely order of COVID-19 symptoms is as follows:
Many symptoms can arise afterward, including but not limited to:
Why is the order of symptoms so important? Because identifying COVID-19 early can be beneficial to the patient and stop further infection.
“There is a heightened risk in COVID-19 being passed on, so faster testing and social distancing are important…We believe that early detectors that any individual can recognize to seek medical attention earlier are useful.” – Modeling the Onset of Symptoms of COVID-19, Joseph R, Larsen, et al., Frontiers in Public Health.
If you think you’ve been exposed, or feel COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. With COVID-19 tests free in the States and readily available, there is no reason to avoid a test if it can help others and yourself.
It’s important to note: many people show no symptoms at all.
Early testing also means earlier treatment, which can help mitigate the illness.
There are symptoms, called emergency warning signs, that call for immediate emergency attention. If you experience any of the following, please seek medical attention immediately.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency use authorization for four at-home tests:
These tests can provide results in as little as 15 – 30 minutes. As they become more widely available, at-home COVID testing will help identify carriers and prevent community spread.
The tests so far have been extremely accurate—but only in laboratory settings. Real-world conditions can decrease that accuracy, and the at-home tests are still not as precise as lab tests. They seem to be even less accurate in identifying a COVID infection when the patient has no symptoms.
For absolute proof—or if you are in a high-risk category—it is better to take a lab test.
EverydayDr is affiliated with top telehealth startup PlushCare. You can get coronavirus treatment and ongoing management from the board-certified doctors at PlushCare. Our primary care physicians can work with you to diagnose and treat your coronavirus symptoms.
Online doctors can order you the necessary tests for coronavirus diagnosis and prescribe necessary medications for coronavirus symptom treatment and management. Online doctors are easier to meet with for follow-up appointments and can reach out digitally to ensure you’re adhering to the care plan.
To request COVID-19 At-Home testing, click here.
Moderna and Pfizer created and began testing in the summer of 2020. Along with the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, these two vaccines have been given emergency use authorization by the FDA.
They have been rapidly deployed in the United States, with their effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 with symptoms ranging from 66% (Janssen) and over 94-95% (Moderna and Pfizer).
Reported side effects have often mimicked the symptoms of COVID-19, with most of them occurring within a few days of injection and going away quickly. As with any vaccine, there may be a risk of an allergic reaction, but vaccination centers monitor their patients closely.
The CDC has also launched various ways to track side effects, including a smartphone app called V-safe that checks in you daily and reminds you of appointments (Moderna and Pfizer require two shots).
Practicing social distancing and wearing a mask—responding to early symptoms and getting tested—obtaining the vaccine as soon as you are eligible—these are the best courses to take to help get us past the COVID-19 pandemic.
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