Knock Out A Sore Throat
If you do have a sore or scratchy throat, it is important to soothe it so that throat irritation doesnt migrate down to the lungs. Drink warm liquids like water with a squeeze of lemon, a dash of apple cider vinegar, or sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt, along with green tea, matcha, weak black coffee, or another elixir. Warm liquids not only soothe the throat, but they also increase hydration and the flow of gastric juices in the stomach, helping reduce inflammation.
Early Symptoms Of Covid
The infection starts off with mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms and further progresses to severe symptoms. Initially, COVID-19 infects the lung in the affected individual and, in severe cases, causes death due to ARDS and pneumonia. However, it is important to remember that COVID-19 does not lead to ARDS and pneumonia in all cases.
Worldwide, it has been observed that most people infected with coronavirus will exhibit mild symptoms, 13 per cent will have pneumonia, 5 per cent will suffer from septic shock and organ failure and 2 per cent of cases may result in fatality.
Some of the primary symptoms to look for in COVID-19 patients are fever, breathing problems, headache, dry cough and in a few cases it may cause loss of smell and taste. Some patients could experience diarrhea and fatigue as primary symptoms.
Taste And Smell Changes
While recovering from coronavirus, you might find that food tastes and smells different to usual. Your food may taste bland, metallic, salty or sweet. This usually only lasts for a while, but it can affect your appetite.
Read more about taste and smell changes, including what you can do to improve the taste of your food, on the NHS Your Covid Recovery website.
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Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Talk about how you feel with your healthcare team. Anxiety, depression, and even PTSD are relatively common among people who have had ARDS. Your healthcare team may recommend that you take steps that include:
- Asking your family and friends for help with everyday activities. Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.
- Joining a patient support group. You can see how other patients manage similar symptoms and their condition. Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center.
- Talking with a professional counselor. If you are very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Can Coronavirus Patients Lessen The Chance Of Lung Damage
There are things patients can do to increase their chances for less severe lung damage, Galiatsatos says.
If you have a health issue that puts you at higher risk, make sure youre doing everything you can to minimize the chance of contracting the virus. Also, make sure that your chronic health conditions are managed as well as they can be. For example, people living with diabetes, COPD or heart disease should be especially careful to manage those conditions with monitoring and taking their medications as directed.
Galiatsatos adds that proper nutrition and hydration can also help patients avoid complications of COVID-19. Staying well fed is important for overall health. Proper hydration maintains proper blood volume and healthy mucous membranes in the respiratory system, which can help them better resist infection and tissue damage.
Coronavirus: Smoking, Vaping, Wildfire Smoke and Air Pollution
Our expert, Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S. discusses how smoking, vaping and air pollution might increase the severity of COVID-19. Learn about how each of these could affect a COVID-19 diagnosis.
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How Long Will It Take To Recover From Coronavirus
How long it takes to recover from coronavirus is different for everyone. Many people feel better in a few days or weeks, but for some people, recovery takes longer. You may find that your symptoms may change over time and that you start getting new symptoms.
How long it takes to recover doesnt seem to be linked to how bad your symptoms were when you first got COVID-19. If youve had symptoms for less than four weeks, youre still at the early stage of infection. Read more about coronavirus and living with a lung condition.
The term Long COVID is used to describe signs and symptoms that last for a few weeks or months after having a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Common symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and problems with memory and concentration, although there are lots of possible Long COVID symptoms.
How long it takes to recover is different for everyone. Read more on when you might expect to feel back to normal if you have lasting symptoms of COVID-19.
Like An Elephant Sitting On My Chest
Don Van Gilder knows what its like to have lungs filled with fluid because of COVID-19.
It felt like an elephant sitting on my chest. It was not pleasant. The chest pains were so bad I was worried I might be having a heart attack, Van Gilder said.
Van Gilder spent five days in the hospital primarily because of a reaction to the steroids he was taking because of COVID. But he said the days leading up to that hospital stay were even worse.
Days nine, 10 and 11 felt like the three worst days of my life, he said.
Van Gilder says he barely moved for days.
I alternated between praying I would live or that I would just die and be done with it, Van Gilder said.
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Take Good Care Of Your Lungs
Amid the crisis of COVID-19, it is extremely crucial to remain healthy in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. Safety precautions must be strictly followed at all times, including wearing a face mask, frequent hand-washing, keeping social distance and refraining from going to crowded areas. More importantly, exposure to suspected or confirmed cases must be avoided. If any abnormal sign or symptom arises, medical attention should be sought immediately.
How Can Doctors Tell If You Have Ards
If you have ARDS, youll have symptoms like sudden breathlessness, rapid breathing, dizziness, rapid heart rate and excessive sweating.
But the four main things doctors will look for are:
- If you have an acute condition, symptoms that started within one week of what they call a known clinical insult, or new or worsening symptoms.
- If your shortness of breath isnt explained by heart failure or fluid overload.
- Having low oxygen levels in your blood .
- Both lungs appearing white and opaque on chest X-rays .
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How To Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you liveget vaccinated or boosted ASAP if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with , practice good hand hygiene, and to live your healthiest life, don’t miss this life-saving advice I’m a Doctor and Here’s the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.
About Loyola Medicine And Trinity Health
Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country’s aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care servicesranked by number of visitsin the nation, as well as the nations leading provider of PACE based on the number of available programs.
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Trying To Reach The Unvaccinated
Van Gilder, a U.S. Navy veteran, ultimately survived the never-ending aches, pains, fevers and brain fog. Hes since written extensively about his close call on social media, hoping to get to others about his COVID-19 experience.
I was hardly sleeping. It was Godawful, he said.
Back at the Medical Center of Aurora, Forrester is also sharing what hes seen, hoping that if his words wont convince someone to get the vaccine, maybe images of COVID lungs will.
My concern is just how important this vaccine is to prevent delta or perhaps the next Delta, he said.
Signs Symptoms And Complications
Difficulty breathing is usually the first symptoms of ARDS. Other signs and symptoms of ARDS may vary depending on the underlying cause and how severely you are affected. ARDS may take several days to develop, or it can rapidly get worse. Complications may include blood clots, infections, additional lung problems, or organ failure.
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Follow Your Treatment Plan
It is important that you take all your medicines as your doctor prescribes. If you are using antibiotics, continue to take the medicine until it is all gone. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue to take it. If you stop too soon, the bacterial infection and your pneumonia may come back. It may also become resistant to the antibiotic, making treatment more difficult.
Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Your doctor may recommend adopting healthy lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking. Smoking can worsen lung problems. Talk to your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as harmful fumes. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help quitting smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
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What Is Long Covid
Dr. Johnston explains, “While most people who get infected with COVID recover fully and fairly quickly, some patients experience a whole host of various symptoms that can last months to longer. This can happen to patients not only with severe COVID but those who had minimal to little symptoms during their acute illness.”
Vaccines Are The Answer
So, what can a person do to avoid this devastating disease? Weve been shouting it from the rooftops for months, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate! We are truly fortunate to have a medical research enterprise that was primed by prior severe coronavirus outbreaks and with advanced mRNA vaccine research that was well along the pipeline to be able to rapidly pursue a safe and effective vaccine. Millions have been vaccinated and we know from emerging data that it is exceedingly effective at preventing severe illness in healthy individuals. I have received it and will help my kids get it when available to them. I expect you will do the same.
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Breathing Doesnt Just Feel Good To You
Heres what happens in the human body to bring on symptoms like those mentioned above, specifically, shortness of breath. These symptoms can come on rapidly.
According to the American Lung Association, it is thought the lungs are the first body organ affected by COVID-19. In the early days of a case of COVID-19, the disease can attack important cells in our lungs.
COVID-19 is thought to attack the epithelial cells lining the airways that catch and clear out things like pollen and viruses flooding our airways with debris and fluids.
If a lung infection is severe enough, it can become ARDS Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. ARDS means that the critical and efficient job the lungs normally perform for the body removing carbon dioxide from your blood and replacing it with oxygen is depleted.
Normal, healthy breathing doesnt just feel good to you. Its doing vital work for your body. ARDS has an effect on the body like drowning without ever going under water. The body begins to strain to breathe to get oxygen to the blood and the skin can begin to turn blue.
In April, the New York Times put the following visualization and interviews together so people could see how COVID-19 attacks the lungs.
For Those People Who Are Diagnosed With Covid
According to the World Health Organization, recovery time appears to be around two weeks for mild infection and three to six weeks for severe disease. However, this is variable and depends on a patients pre-existing comorbidities in addition to illness severity.
Several surveys conducted in the U.S. and Italy are showing that only 39% of those who had been hospitalized reported a return to baseline health by 14-21 days after diagnosis.
Similarly, in a study of 143 patients hospitalized for COVID-19, only 13% were symptom-free after a mean of 60 days following disease onset.
The most common symptoms were dyspnea , fatigue , joint pain and chest pain.
However, there have been reports of persistent severe illness with weeks of fevers and pneumonia persisting in immunosuppressed patients.
With milder infection, patients can still have prolonged symptoms. A recent survey showed that only 65% reported a return to baseline health by 14-21 days after diagnosis. Those who did return to baseline health did so a median of seven days after the diagnosis. Symptoms that can persist include cough , fatigue and rarely fevers and chills in those with prior mild infection.
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So How Does Ards Actually Damage Your Lungs
Most importantly, patients who are suffering from ARDS end up having damage to the walls of the air sacs in their lungs the ones that help oxygen pass through into our red blood cells. Thats what doctors term diffuse alvelolar damage.
In a healthy lung, oxygen within these air sacs travels through to small blood vessels . These tiny vessels, in turn, deliver the oxygen to your red blood cells.
Nature has evolved in a way that the wall of alveolus is very, very thin in a normal person so oxygen can easily get from the air space in between to the red blood cell, Dr. Mukhopadhyay explains.
The coronavirus damages both the wall and lining cells of the alveolus as well as the capillaries. The debris that accumulates because of all of that damage lines the wall of the alveolus the same way paint would cover a wall, Dr. Mukhopadhyay points out. The damage to capillaries also causes them to leak plasma proteins that add to the walls thickness.
Eventually, the wall of the alveolus gets thicker than it should be, he notes. The thicker this wall gets, the harder it is to transfer oxygen, the more you feel short of breath, and the more and more you start moving towards severe illness and possibly death.
How Can Breathing Exercises Help With Covid
As weve come to know, COVID-19 presents differently in different people. Inflammation in the lungs and airways are common symptoms that make breathing difficult. These symptoms can present with mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19.
People who get very sick from this viral infection may experience pneumonia as a result. This causes the lungs to fill with fluid and mucus, making it even harder to breathe and get the oxygen the body needs to function.
These conditions cause chronic inflammation of the lungs, which can significantly worsen in people who develop COVID-19 after contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the infection.
COVID-19 affects the entire respiratory tract, further obstructing airflow. It can trigger asthma attacks and cause acute respiratory distress syndrome . Deep breathing exercises that clear the lungs and strengthen lung function may be especially beneficial for people with these conditions.
Other ways that deep breathing can help, include:
- getting oxygen deep into the lungs, which helps you clear out mucus and other fluids.
- strengthening the diaphragm, a major respiratory muscle located under the lungs
- increasing lung capacity by bringing much-needed oxygen into your bloodstream
- helping you feel calmer, which may be beneficial for coping with long-term illness and recovery
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Symptoms To Watch Out For
Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will have symptoms like dry cough, breathlessness, fever, loss of sense of taste and smell, tiredness and chest pain amongst others.
In case the infection has spread to the lungs, it may show symptoms like persistent cough and fever, chest discomfort, breathless on exertion, low oxygen saturation and blood inflammatory markers mentioned above. “It usually happens after five days of the infection,” Dr Tickoo adds.
How Is The Virus Affecting People
Guardian Australia spoke with Prof John Wilson, president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a respiratory physician.
He says almost all serious consequences of Covid-19 feature pneumonia.
Wilson says people who catch Covid-19 can be placed into four broad categories.
The least serious are those people who are sub-clinical and who have the virus but have no symptoms.
Next are those who get an infection in the upper respiratory tract, which, Wilson says, means a person has a fever and a cough and maybe milder symptoms like headache or conjunctivitis.
He says: Those people with minor symptoms are still able to transmit the virus but may not be aware of it.
The largest group of those who would be positive for Covid-19, and the people most likely to present to hospitals and surgeries, are those who develop the same flu-like symptoms that would usually keep them off work.
A fourth group, Wilson says, will develop severe illness that features pneumonia.
He says: In Wuhan, it worked out that from those who had tested positive and had sought medical help, roughly 6% had a severe illness.
The WHO says the elderly and people with underlying problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
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