The shadow of COVID-19 looms large over the year 2020, and it’s unlikely to change any time soon. Nearly 9.7 million people have been infected globally, and the symptoms caused by the disease can range from annoying to incapacitating.
Why the wide variance in symptoms? Nobody is 100% certain, but we do know that seniors and people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes or hypertension have the highest risk of severe illness. Tap or click here to see some of the telltale symptoms of COVID-19.
Despite most people describing the well-known signs like fever and a dry cough, some patients experienced different symptoms that went ignored or underestimated. In light of this, the CDC has updated its symptom profile with new signs you can check yourself for at home. Here’s what we know.
CDC acknowledges several new coronavirus symptoms
In an update to its online coronavirus portal, the CDC has added three new symptoms of those to watch for, making a total of 11.
- Congestion or runny nose
When the coronavirus spread started, the CDC listed three primary symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Additional symptoms were typically extrapolated from these original three or seen as “uncommon symptoms” by medical professionals.
Back in April, the CDC warned of these symptoms.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
The host of new symptoms points to a far broader profile for this new disease than previously assumed. These confirmations also help separate real aspects of the disease from fictional ones circulating on social media. Tap or click here to see some of the most common COVID-19 myths and the truth behind them.
Who is at an increased risk?
The CDC has also expanded its guidance on who is most at risk for illness. Previously, the CDC warned those 65 and older were at increased risk. Now, the health institute warns anyone exposed to the virus is at risk, and that risk grows with age.
“For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s,” according to the CDC’s website.
The list of underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness has also expanded. The conditions are:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
If I have these symptoms, when should I go to the hospital?
As severe as COVID-19 is, most people will not need to visit the emergency room. The outpouring of data from American hospitals and testing facilities has confirmed that the majority of cases are indeed mild, and sick people with mild cases are better off isolating themselves at home.
For those who are more severely sick, the CDC does include guidelines on its web portal for when to get emergency treatment. According to the CDC, seek help immediately if you have any of the following emergency symptoms.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
The CDC advises that anyone calling for help tell the 911 operator that they suspect they may have COVID-19. This will allow emergency workers to properly equip themselves before coming to your aid.
This list, however, is not all-inclusive. Some people may have specific emergency symptoms related to pre-existing or other conditions. Please consult with your medical provider if you’re not sure.
Thankfully, unlike at the beginning of this pandemic, we have a much clearer understanding of how to protect ourselves from this virus. If you don’t get sick (by staying indoors and taking proper sanitary methods), you won’t even have to worry about mild symptoms in the first place. Tap or click here to see the proven ways to protect yourself.