Do I have COVID-19?

By April 12, 2020 April 22nd, 2020 COVID-19
Concierge Doctors - Coronavirus

The Top 5 Things to Know about COVID-19 Symptoms.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, this is probably a question you might have been asking yourself a lot. Concierge Doctors has compiled a list of the essential things to remember about how COVID-19 might impact you.

If you have any questions or are worried about your situation, you should consider getting in touch with one of our telehealth medical practitioners.

Most COVID-19 cases will show no to minimal symptoms at the start of the infection

Do I have COVID-19? Chances are you… would not know right away.

It is important to realise around 80% of people with COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. So mild sometimes, that they could go unnoticed for the whole course of the infection (asymptomatic cases). Or in other cases (pre-symptomatic), go unnoticed for many days before being noticeable (depending on the incubation period of your COVID-19 infection).

The incubation period, after which symptoms appear, if any, may last 1-14 days after exposure, with an average of 5-6 days. There have been reports of longer incubation periods, however those are believed to be outliers.

In any case, remember that symptoms might be extremely mild. A study in Iceland showed that around 50% of the people tested positive had indicated they were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

This means you could be getting or passing the disease within a perfectly healthy looking group of people. You could be feeling healthy, but potentially already be infected and unknowingly passing it onto others. This is one of the reasons it is paramount to follow social distancing measures and stay at home as much as possible by acting as though you already have it. And wear any form of cloth face mask if you absolutely need to venture outside your home.

What are the Main Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

The main symptoms, according to the Australian Government Department of Health (based on the World Health Organisation’s and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations), are the following.

Figures dated early April from a Spanish study indicate the following symptoms: fever in (68% of the cases), dry cough (68%), followed by difficulty to breathe (30%), shivers (27%), sore throat (24%). Additional symptoms were noted, however rarely (including diarrhoea).

If you have any of the symptoms above but feel they are mild to moderate, you can take the Australian Government Health Department COVID-19 Symptom Checker online test.

For any concerns or questions consider getting in touch with medical professionals. Do not go to hospital or to your local GP, as that will increase chances of infection. Instead, consider switching to telehealth consults for a risk-free, instant medical consult.

Loss of Smell is Likely a Symptom

Whilst not officially in the list of symptoms as of April 5, evidence is accumulating that indicates a patient losing their sense of smell could be an early symptom of COVID-19. A study in the UK reported that 59% of the people included in the study who had tested positive for COVID-19 had reported losing their sense of smell. There is currently a push by UK-based and American-based medical societies to include loss of smell in the official list of symptoms for the disease.

The Symptoms Evolve over Time in Severe Cases

It is important to note that symptoms will often evolve over time. 3 Chinese hospitals (2 in Wenzhou and 1 in Wuhan) documented severe COVID-19 patients’ typical journey through the course of the disease. Day 1 is the day symptoms were identified as such by the patient.

  • Day 1: Mild symptoms, which could include any of the common symptoms (fever, dry cough, occasional shortness of breath, fatigue, more rarely diarrhoea or nausea)
  • Day 3: patient is admitted into hospital (for the 2 Wenzhou hospitals).
  • Day 5: severe cases (often older or with pre-existing conditions) start degrading and experiencing serious difficulty to breathe).
  • Day 7: patient is admitted into hospital (for the Wuhan hospital).
  • Day 8: the severe shortness of breath would by now have developed into pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome that might require intubation to not be fatal.
  • Day 10: admission into ICU for the worst cases.
  • Day 17: discharge from hospital in Wuhan, assuming recovery from the virus.
  • Day 27: discharge from hospitals in Wenzhou. The average hospital stay for Wenzhou patients was 27 days.

Based on these timelines, it appears that in severe cases COVID-19 evolves quickly (in about a week) starting with potentially mild symptoms before turning into a life-threatening disease requiring immediate hospital assistance.

When to Go to Hospital

main emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include:

  • So breathless you’re unable to speak in sentences
  • Unconscious or drowsy
  • Skin turning blue or pale

Please dial 000 immediately if you are experiencing any of the above.

If you have any questions or worries about your situation, but are not experiencing any of the emergency symptoms, please do not go into hospital or your GP. This could increase chances of spreading the disease. Consider switching to telehealth instead, as you will get professional medical care without the risk of infection.

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