COVID-19 is a respiratory condition caused by a coronavirus. Some people are infected but don’t notice any symptoms. Most people will have mild symptoms and get better on their own. But about 1 in 6 will have severe problems, such as trouble breathing. The odds of more serious symptoms are higher if you’re older or have another health condition like diabetes or heart disease.
Here’s what to look for if you think you might have COVID-19.
Researchers in China found that the most common symptoms among people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 include:
Strokes have also been reported in some people who have COVID-19. Remember FAST:
Face. Is one side of the person’s face numb or drooping? Is their smile lopsided?
Arms. Is one arm weak or numb? If they try to raise both arms, does one arm sag?
Speech. Can they speak clearly? Ask them to repeat a sentence.
Time. Every minute counts when someone shows signs of a stroke. Call 911 right away.
Lab tests can tell if COVID-19 is what’s causing your symptoms. But the tests can be hard to find, and there’s no treatment if you do have the disease. So you don’t need to get tested if you have no symptoms or only mild ones. Call your doctor or your local health department if you have questions.
Some doctors are reporting rashes tied to COVID-19, including purple or blue lesions on children’s toes and feet. Researchers are looking into these reports so they can understand the effect on people who have COVID-19.
Symptoms in Children
Researchers say kids have many of the same COVID-19 symptoms as adults, but they tend to be milder. Common symptoms in children include:
Shortness of breath: 13%
Some children and teens who are in the hospital with the disease have an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to the new coronavirus. Doctors call it pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS). Symptoms include a fever, a rash, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems. It’s similar to toxic shock or to Kawasaki disease, a condition in children that causes inflammation in blood vessels.
How to Check for Fever
Your regular body temperature may be higher or lower than someone else’s. It also changes throughout the day. Doctors generally consider a fever in an adult to be anything over 100.4 F on an oral thermometer and over 100.8 F on a rectal thermometer.
If you think you’ve come into contact with the virus, or if you have symptoms, isolate yourself and check your temperature every morning and evening for at least 14 days. Keep track of the readings. A fever is the most common symptom of COVID-19, but it’s sometimes below 100 F. In a child, a fever is a temperature above 100 F on an oral thermometer or 100.4 F on a rectal one.
What Kind of Cough Is Common?
Early studies have found that at least 60% of people with COVID-19 have a dry cough. About a third have a cough with mucus, called a “wet” or “productive” cough.
What to Do If You Think You Have Mild Symptoms
If you have milder symptoms like a fever, shortness of breath, or coughing:
Stay home unless you need medical care. If you do need to go in, call your doctor or hospital first for guidance.
Tell your doctor about your illness. If you’re at high risk of complications because of your age or other health conditions, they might have more instructions.
Isolate yourself. This means staying away from other people as much as possible, even members of your family. Stay in a specific “sick room,” and use a separate bathroom if you can.
Wear a cloth face covering if you have to be around anyone else. This includes people you live with.
Rest up, and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines might help you feel better.
Keep track of your symptoms. If they get worse, get medical help right away.
What Does Shortness of Breath Feel Like?
Dyspnea is the word doctors use for shortness of breath. It can feel like you: