Prevent serious Covid-19 disease by knowing the symptoms!

What is Covid-19?

At this point in the global pandemic, we have all heard the words “Covid-19” a multitude of times. But what is Covid-19?

It is an infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which comes from a family of viruses known as the coronaviruses.

There have been many previous coronaviruses that only cause mild cold symptoms. The previous mild coronaviruses are not to be confused with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. SARS-Cov-2 causes Covid-19, which can lead to serious respiratory symptoms, low oxygen saturation, and even death.

The following is an image of the coronavirus that causes SARS-Cov-2; all of the viruses in the coronavirus family have a crown of spike proteins.

Top 10 Covid-19 Symptoms

Covid-19 is a severe ACUTE (meaning symptoms start abruptly) respiratory syndrome that causes distressed breathing and low oxygen saturation. We need our bodies and organs to be saturated in oxygen in order to function. Low oxygen saturation can cause organ failure as well as a multitude of other symptoms [2].

Covid-19 needs to be spoken about continuously due to its unpredictability of clinical presentation. Symptoms range from asymptomatic and mild to severe and fatal [1].

According to the CDC the Top 10 Covid-19 symptoms are:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea

According to the CDC severe Covid-19 symptoms include:

  • Trouble Breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New Confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
The following image was used from Trinity Health MI.

How do I know if its Covid-19 and not allergies?

According to the mayoclinic; Covid-19, the common cold, seasonal allergies, and the flu have many similar signs and symptoms. Covid-19 and the common cold can both present with a cough but the cough with Covid-19 is usually dry. Covid-19 can also clinically present with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting but colds never present with gastrointestinal issues. Also, Covid-19 and the common cold can also lead to loss of taste and smell. The common cold is usually accompanied with a stuffy nose, the stuffy nose is what causes loss of taste and smell. It is unclear why SARS-Cov-2 causes loss of taste and smell, one theory is that the nasal passages become inflamed and this inflammation leads to loss of olfactory neurons [4].

The following chart compares Covid-19 and the Allergy symptoms.

[image 2] Taken from the Mayoclinic

Who is at Risk for Covid-19?

Anyone is at risk for Covid-19 and most infections are mild. The older a person is, the more at risk for severe illness they become. It is hypothesized that age-related decline of immune function plays a role in the vulnerability to severe Covid-19 infections in older adults.

Other health conditions can also complicate Covid-19. Such as: [3]

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • A weakened immune system because of an organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Serious heart conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Sickle cel disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Arteriole disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High blood pressure
  • A weakened immune system: blood or bone marrow transplant, HIV, or corticosteroid use
  • Dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Damaged or scarred lung tissue
  • Smoking
  • Thalassemia

Covid-19 in Children

The silver lining of this pandemic is that children are usually not severely affected. In a study with 8866 cases a majority of the patients were 36-65 years of age with only 14 children less than 10 years old diagnosed with the disease [6].

In children, fever and cough are the most common symptoms. Some children also experienced:

  • fatigue
  • myalgia
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • vomiting and abdominal pain

A few children did not experience a fever but did experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The first severe case in a child resulted in GI issues and later developed into a severe respiratory response [6].

Pediatric cases can be categorized into five categories:

  • asymptomatic
  • mild
  • common
  • severe
  • critically severe

The data show that the prevalence of disease in children less than 18 years of age is relatively low, accounting for roughly, 2.4% of cases [6]. Most children diagnosed with the disease experience mild symptoms, faster recovery, shorter detoxification time, and good prognosis.

Covid-19 Linked to Anxiety and Depression

There has been an overwhelming amount of stress linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of us are facing unemployment, death, isolation, and financial troubles. In this unprecedented time, it is tough for clinicians to decipher between actual depression and defeat stress. Defeat stress can appear in times of great stress and it leads to demoralization. This type of “depression” is unlikely to respond to antidepressants. Demoralized persons benefit from encouragement, support, and engagement with others [5].

Covid-19 is affecting us physically, financially, and mentally. Emotional depression is taking a tole on many people. Hopefully the economic and emotional depression begins to get the support and attention it deserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go to get help for my anxiety and depression?

You can speak to your health care provider, a family member or friend. If this is not an option for you, please seek help with the US department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Distress Hotline (1-800-985-5990; or text TalkWithUs to 66746) [5].

I came in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19 but I do not have any symptoms, should I still get tested?

Yes, If you can find a testing center near by with availability; you should get tested. It is best to know whether you are positive or not. This is important in order to slow the spread and keep vulnerable people safe.

Will I have any side effects to the Covid-19 vaccine?

It is very possible to have side effects but very few people have severe adverse reactions. Speak to your health care provider to make sure you are not at risk for anaphylaxis.

How long does a fever last with Covid-19?

It is hard to say. Some people never experienced a fever, while others had a fever for days or weeks. If you are experiencing a fever please get tested and quarantine. This protects you and people of a vulnerable population

Why are serious Covid-19 infections more prevalent in the older population?

As we age, our immune systems also age. The older population is vulnerable to a slew of other diseases as well. But because of their declining immune systems, they need to be protected the most from Covid-19.