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.
Dr. Wantuck co-founded PlushCare to improve access to top-notch care. He attended medical school at Vanderbilt and completed his residency at Stanford University Medical Center in internal medicine.
May 3, 2021
As people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and restrictions are being lifted across the country, it’s important to revisit what are the symptoms of COVID-19 to slow the spread of the disease and keep our loved ones safe.
Particularly in the spring and as kids are going back to school, we’re going to be seeing symptoms of allergies or school-spread viral illnesses that may be similar to COVID-19 and can cause confusion and worry.
If you have these symptoms, it is advisable that you get a COVID test or seek medical attention:
While many cases of COVID-19 don’t exhibit any symptoms, here are a few that are fairly specific to COVID, especially since it is so common right now:
COVID-19 is caused by an infection of a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Those who have had COVID-19 may have a variety of symptoms. Some imitate those of the common cold or of the flu, which makes it harder for the people or even physicians to know if what they’re experiencing is COVID-19 without getting tested.
Adults with COVID-19 have had symptoms including but not limited to headache, cough, nausea, fatigue, fever or chills, body ache, sore throat, shortness of breath, the loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, runny nose, sneezing, or congestion. Because there are such varied symptoms from one person to another, it is difficult to pin down a diagnosis of COVID without testing. In general, if you have symptoms that may be due to COVID, it makes sense to get tested.
The CDC recommends that if you have new confusion, are unable to stay awake, have trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, or your skin becomes pale, gray, or blue-colored that you should seek emergency medical care immediately.
These symptoms are more serious and could indicate that your oxygen levels are below where they need to be. If you are worried, call 911 immediately.
A common question patients ask is: “How long do COVID symptoms last?”
The timeline of COVID-19 symptoms is hard to predict, however we do have some general guidelines that we have noticed by analyzing many thousands of people.The most common duration of symptoms is as follows:
In the early stages (days 1-3), the first symptoms of COVID-19 may include a fever or chills, a tickle in your throat, a cough, or a headache. Some other early COVID symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, or loss of sense of taste and smell.
Once you hit days 4-6, your symptoms may stabilize or disappear completely.. However, some will still be experiencing fever, chills, cough, and body aches, and these could get progressively worse during this time.
One of the more rare symptoms people have experienced around this 4-6 day mark is blisters on their feet.
During days 7 and 8, patients might start to recover if they had a mild case of COVID-19. The CDC guidelines state to wait 10 days after the start of your symptoms and then go 24 hours without a fever before ending isolation. For some people, their symptoms may worsen at this point in their illness, which can lead to serious illness or hospitalization.
After 8-12 days of illness, many with a mild course will have recovered fully, and those who are tending towards a severe illness may progress further. This period can often be a sign for more serious disease.
For those whose symptoms are worsening, it may be a deeper cough and more shortness of breath. If you get to the point where you don’t feel comfortable at home, you should call your doctor and update them on your condition or seek emergency medical attention via 911
Anyone who has experienced a mild COVID illnesss recover by days 13 and 14. Those whose condition has worsened may still be short of breath and experiencing additional symptoms like cough and headaches.
This is a generalized and approximate timeline. Everyone experiences COVID-19 differently and you should talk to your doctor if you’ve tested positive to discuss what the next 14 days might look like based on your current symptoms and your other illnesses and medical history
Communication can be a barrier for younger children and they may have a hard time verbalizing what they’re experiencing.
Especially in young children or with first time parents, mom and dad may constantly wonder “is sneezing a symptom of COVID-19?” or “is diarrhea a symptom of COVID-19?”. It is normal to worry about your child when they have an illness, and it is important to seek medical care if you believe your child may have COVID-19.
Some COVID-19 symptoms your child might show are:
The most common symptoms according to the CDC are cough and fever.
If your child has an underlying condition or if any of their symptoms seem to be worsening to the point of needing medical care, call your doctor immediately. While the rate of hospitalizations in children is lower than adults, it does happen.
While COVID-19 has been less common in children than adults, the CDC warns that such a trend may change in the future.
“Due to community mitigation measures and school closures,” they explain, “transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to and among children may have been reduced in the United States during the pandemic in the spring and early summer of 2020.”
“This may explain the low incidence in children compared with adults. Comparing trends in pediatric infections before and after the return to child care, in-person school, youth sports and other activities may enhance our understanding about infections in children.”
Continue to pay attention to guidelines as new data about COVID-19 in children surfaces.
COVID-19 has been uncommon in newborns whose mothers had COVID-19 during pregnancy and in newborns whose mothers didn’t contract the disease.
Children under two years of age should not wear a mask due to a risk of suffocation and poor compliance with items covering their mouth.
Most infants who end up testing positive for COVID-19 have few to no symptoms. The ones that are reported are fever, runny nose, poor feeding, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, shallow breathing, and cough.
Babies who are born before 37 weeks (prematurely) or those who have underlying medical conditions are more at risk.
If your baby tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms, reach out to your pediatrician, and follow their instructions regarding isolation, breastfeeding, and general care.
Every day we learn new information about COVID-19, its symptoms, its causes, and how it progresses. Staying up to date on the latest research through the CDC is the best approach and will allow you to protect you and your family the best that you can.
With the emergence of telehealth, you can readily receive virtual doctor consultation. A telehealth doctor can order an at-home COVID-19 test kit that you can take at the comfort of your own home. If you have been diagnosed, a telehealth doctor can prescribe medication, and discuss your symptoms and options with you.
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 can 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.
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