One of the most concerning aspects of COVID-19, however, is that only three symptoms have been reported. This is misleading. The severity of symptoms can vary greatly and may appear as soon as two days after exposure, up to 14 days later. There are many symptoms that can occur, from mild symptoms to severe symptoms that require hospitalization. Although the virus can be cured in 17 days, it can also be fatal. If we want to see more people living with the virus, it is important to understand what the virus looks like. There are some commonalities that we can all look out for to help us self-isolate. (1)
Most Common Symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever: 88% of people who were diagnosed with the illness experienced fever.
- Dry Cough: 67.7% started with dry cough.
- Shortness of Breath: 18.6% suffer from shortness of breath.
- Phlegm Production: 33.4% of the population has phlegm production.
Other symptoms include:
- Fatigue around 40%
- Sore throat and headaches 12%
- Joint and muscle pains 15%
- Chills: 10%
- Runny nose below 10%
As you can see, there are many symptoms other than shortness of breath, fever, and cough. (1)
COVID-19: The Underlying Issues
People with underlying health problems will experience breathing difficulties after five days. When symptoms persist, on average, people will visit the hospital within seven days. Mild cases will feel better by day five. People with severe cases of pneumonia will experience symptoms for several days. It can take several weeks for patients to feel better after pneumonia has set in. But, severe and serious cases of pneumonia can lead to Acute Respiratory Stress Syndrome (ARDS). (1)
What is ARSD?
ARSD is when the immune system floods your lungs with cells that target the virus, but becomes too aggressive and attacks healthy tissues. Unfortunately, ARDS can lead to death in as many as 30%-40% of patients. Most cases of COVID-19 can be survived. It is best to stay at home to avoid contracting this virus. (1)
Many people don’t feel shortness of breath.
Elizabeth Schneider, a COVID-19 patient, said that she experienced a scratchy throat, headache, and exhaustion when she was first diagnosed. She never felt shortness of breath, or even a cough. Many people don’t realize they have COVID-19 because of the wide range of symptoms. (2)
Three days after contact
Elizabeth contracted the virus at a Seattle party on Saturday, February 22. Three days later, she felt groggy and began to feel unwell. She felt sick and went to work with a cold. She says she felt a little feverish and had a headache. All those who contracted the virus at the party have since recovered. Their experience gives insight into the symptoms and what one can expect from the illness. (2)
She didn’t feel the symptoms of the coronavirus, such as a cough, shortness or tightness in her chest, and didn’t know it. She says that she could barely brush her teeth and remove my contacts before going to bed. (2)
12 Days to Recover
Although she was able to sleep and reduce her fever with over-the-counter medicine, she was still in bed for two days. She didn’t feel well for 12 days. None of the other party-goers who contracted the virus also had respiratory symptoms. Instead, they described a dry cough or tickling in their throats. One of the seven COVID-19 patients had low-level pneumonia. Elizabeth says, “I think this virus just possesses the whole kit and caboodle.” It all depends on how severe you get it. (2)
Noelle Ruiz, Los Altos, California, began to feel sick with a fever, headache, and sinus pressure. Later, she developed chest pain and her symptoms worsened by day six. “I was sleeping 19 hours per night. I felt nauseous. I would feel nauseous every time I got up to go to my kitchen. It was almost like I was doing exercises but I had only walked the length of the room,” the 27-year old says. “I couldn’t really take deep breaths, I didn’t feel like my lungs had enough air.” (2)
A loss of smell is another symptom that has been reported recently. Noelle experienced this along with a loss in taste. (2)
The moral of this story is that if you don’t feel well, stay home. Even if you feel well, it is still best to stay home.