Is Shortness Of Breath One Of The First Symptoms Of Covid
COVID-19-related shortness of breath usually occurs a few days after initial infection. However, some people may not develop this symptom at all.
On average, it sets in between day 4 and 10 of the disease course. It typically follows milder symptoms, such as:
- body aches
According to doctors observations while working in a clinic, the onset of shortness of breath, along with sudden drops in oxygen saturation after very little exertion, may help clinicians distinguish COVID-19 from other common illnesses.
Shortness of breath on its own usually rules out COVID-19. But when it occurs with other key symptoms, such as fever and cough, the likelihood of having an infection with SARS-CoV-2 increases.
The reports that 31 to 40 percent of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have experienced shortness of breath.
The occurrence of other symptoms is as follows:
- fever: 83 to 99 percent
- cough: 59 to 82 percent
- fatigue: 44 to 70 percent
- loss of appetite: 40 to 84 percent
- sputum production: 28 to 33 percent
- muscle, body aches: 11 to 35 percent
Another CDC study of confirmed cases in the United States found that shortness of breath occurred in about 43 percent of symptomatic adults and 13 percent of symptomatic children.
Why Might Some People Get Milder Symptoms
According to Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California, the severity of each infection depends on viral factors such as the viral load and which variant the person was exposed to and host factors, such as whether a person has immunity or underlying health conditions.
Immunity is the most important contributing factor behind the severity of infection, says Cutler.
Vaccines and prior illness contribute to immunity. Age, illness, poor nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and numerous medical conditions can also impair immunity, causing more severe COVID, Cutler said.
In addition, Omicron appears to spare the lungs but causes more upper-respiratory symptoms.
Building evidence suggests that people with Omicron generally, but not always, have fewer severe outcomes than people with Delta. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found people with Omicron were also hospitalized for fewer days and required less oxygen.
This does not mean that the virus is no longer a threat.
The number of cases recorded during the Omicron wave has overwhelmed hospitals treating COVID-19 patients and others who developed a mild case but required hospitalization for other health reasons.
Remember, any illness causes stress and an inflammation response from our body. This response can be harmful, causing uncontrolled sugar among diabetics or possibly heart attacks in patients with heart disease, said Mayorga.
Johns Hopkins Assembles A Crack Team
Patients who have long COVID are desperate for answers that doctors might not have.
“It’s really important that we recognize and admit that we do not have all the answers,” says pulmonologist Dr. Ann Parker, co-founder and co-director of Johns Hopkins Post-Acute COVID Team .
” medicine, it’s very rewarding to be able to point to a specific test and make a diagnosis and put it all together in a nice package with a tidy bow. But a lot of things in medicine are messy, and this is one of them.”
No one really knows how common long COVID really is, but it isn’t rare.
There is no uniform approach to treating long COVID.
For some people, long COVID is temporary, and those symptoms can fade after a few months. For others like Fisseha, long COVID feels like a new reality.
“What complicates things is there’s no straight kind of cookie-cutter way to approach treatment,” says Dr. Alba Azola, who is co-director of the JH PACT program.
“There’s certainly patterns emerging in terms of clinical presentation, but every patient is different.”
Because there is no singular approach to treatment, Johns Hopkins has brought together all sorts of specialists as part of JH PACT. This includes physical therapists and rehab specialists like Dr. Azola, as well as neuropsychologists and pulmonologists.
One of their approaches is simply time.
The more information patients can share with her, the more she can focus on their most limiting symptoms.
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How Long Does Covid
According to data gathered in the ZOE COVID Study, fatigue commonly occurs within the first week of the illness and lasts for an average of five to eight days, though some people may have COVID-related fatigue for two weeks or longer.
The severity of fatigue is often correlated to the severity of illness. Typically, the worse the illness, the longer the fatigue is likely to last. For people who had to be admitted to intensive care for COVID-19, it might be a few months before they get back to where they were before they got sick, says McClelland.
For people who feel bad but are able to ride out COVID-19 at home, it might take just a week or two for the fatigue to abate, says McClelland.
For Patients With Long Covid Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Offer A Guiding Star
Even doing a few simple tasks can be draining for Semhar Fisseha after her COVID diagnosis. Helena Kubicka de Bragançahide caption
Even doing a few simple tasks can be draining for Semhar Fisseha after her COVID diagnosis.
Before she became sick with a coronavirus infection in January, Semhar Fisseha was a healthy, active 39-year-old.
She took walks every day and planned summer vacations with her nine-year-old daughter. Now, even activities that many people take for granted can come at a big cost.
“I woke up with a deep fatigue,” she says in an audio diary one October morning.
“I had a four-activity day yesterday I showered, I bathed my daughter, I went for a walk, and I washed the dishes.”
Fisseha also experiences chest pain and a racing heart.
“My heart rate has been pretty up and down,” she says in another audio diary. “It’s gone up to 120s, 130s without any real activity.”
Fisseha is a senior administrator at Weill Cornell Medicine. Some days, she wakes up feeling optimistic, like she will be able to cross a lot off her to-do list: Shower, work a full work day, prepare lunch and dinner for her daughter.
But she can become drained just from talking during work meetings, forcing her to rethink her plans.
The deep fatigue Fisseha experiences is one of the most frequently reported long-term effects of COVID-19. It’s known as “post-exertional malaise,” a worsening of symptoms such as pain or fatigue after physical or mental exertion.
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Is Fatigue A Sign Of Covid
It may be unexpected, but it’s entirely possible for fatigue to be the only symptom affecting someone who is experiencing a COVID-19 infection, likely a breakthrough case. Because average Americans have a hard time classifying fatigue and the root of their tiredness, they may miss other more subtle symptoms that would provide more context to a burgeoning COVID-19 illness.
A 2021 scholarly article indicated that fatigue is one of the three most common symptoms associated with COVID-19, Dr. Nagrani stresses. But unless you have a conversation with your healthcare provider, pinpointing your lack of energy or body’s consistent soreness can be difficult.
“As an acute symptom, while new fatigue could be an early marker of a COVID-19 infection, the fatigue could easily be due to another cause,” he says. “It’s also important to remember that many cases of COVID-19 have no symptoms at all, which is one reason it has continued to spread so easily.”
The easiest way to determine if your fatigue is caused by coronavirus would be to get tested, especially if you are experiencing new, additional symptoms at the same time as feeling wiped out. If you can’t explain why you feel tired and the sensation doesn’t fade, visiting a primary doctor can help determine what’s plaguing you even if it isn’t a COVID-19 infection as you may suspect.
Your Headache Has Lasted Over 72 Hours
The same study found that headaches that persist for at least 72 hours are more likely to be the result of COVID than those that resolve sooner: Over 10 percent of COVID-positive respondents reported this minimum duration, compared with four percent of patients whose headaches were not related to COVID.
Those with coronavirus may also experience shorter tension headaches throughout their sickness, but these are typically associated with the physical strain of severe coughing. And for another symptom to be aware of, check out This Strange Pain Could Be the First Sign You Have COVID, Study Says.
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Duration Location And The Cdc12
First, the inflammation that aggravates our muscles when were fighting off an infection typically lasts a lot longer than soreness caused by physical exertion even if they feel similar to each other at first.
When our immune system becomes stimulated we become more attuned to its activity. By and large, pains caused by our adaptive immune response persist for about two weeks. The physical manifestations of this are often sharp and incapacitating.
Where you experience the pain can vary, too, explained infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in a press statement. Muscle pain can be a symptom of an injury, stress, or simply working a muscle you havent used much lately. If you feel generally OK otherwise, youre probably not dealing with COVID-19.
Although coronavirus induced muscle pain is often generalized, a sizable portion of patients experience it in their lower back.
The vague nature of this potential indicator in particular highlights the utility of the CDCS twelve-point COVID-19 symptom assessment.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Blush lips or face
The presence of one or more of these symptoms elevates the severity of muscle pain just as their absence reduces it.
The Fatigue Recovery Phase
When people start to feel better after an infection, it is often tempting to return to previous levels of work, leisure and social activities. However, trying to do too much, too soon, can often be counter-productive. It is easy to get caught up in a boom and bust cycle of activity that can prolong your recovery.
Boom and bust cycle
If fatigue and other symptoms are persisting, its important to remember to allow yourself time to recuperate by finding the right balance of rest, relaxation and activity for your own individual circumstances.
While you might feel ready to go back to work or pick up your life where it was left prior to COVID-19, its important to listen to your body and gradually build a physical and emotional recovery plan that can help you get back to your life and stay on track, without experiencing too many setbacks.
The most important aspect of managing post-infection fatigue is giving yourself time for recuperation, or convalescence as it has been known. This requires a combination of rest, relaxation and gentle activity. In practice it involves:
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When Will I Get Back To Normal
We are still learning about the different ways that COVID affects people and how people recover from it. Your recovery may depend on things like how ill you were with the virus, whether you have other health issues, whether you went into hospital and whether you were in intensive care.
Some of your symptoms might go away quite quickly, whilst others may take much longer to improve. Be patient with yourself, think about moving forwards gradually and steadily, and ask for support if you need it.
If you are struggling to complete essential daily activities and are unable to ask for help from family or friends, take a look at the when to seek help section of this website for more advice and information.
You will find advice for employees and employers in the return to work section of this website.
Study Abroad Goes Awry
Olivia, who prefers to disclose only her first name, was studying abroad in Paris in late January. She flew back to the states on Sunday, March 15. The following Tuesday, she says she began to feel like she had a cold.
“I thought nothing of it and figured it was from the travel, since the only symptoms I had were congestion and a headache,” Olivia tells CNET. “The next day I started feeling worse, but still hadn’t shown any of the major signs of until I woke up at 3 a.m. Thursday morning and I was running a 100.2 fever.”
Olivia’s symptoms quickly progressed at that point, and she soon felt as if she had the flu: body aches, chills, extreme fatigue and a fever up to 102 degrees. At some point between the Tuesday when she first began to show symptoms and the following Thursday, Olivia also lost her sense of taste and smell, and thus lost her appetite.
She got tested on Saturday, March 21.
“I started to feel better over the next couple of days, my fever broke, and I was able to get up and move around and started to feel like myself,” Olivia says, with the congestion and loss of taste and smell the only lingering symptoms.
“Now, just a little over two weeks since I started seeing symptoms, I consider myself to have completely recovered,” she says. “I remained quarantined the entirety of my two weeks being sick and maintained limited contact with my family as well.”
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Your Headache Is Resistant To Painkillers
Sometimes even a COVID headache will respond to painkillers like aspirin and acetaminophen. However, the research team noted a link between headaches that resist the effects of analgesic medication and a COVID diagnosis. If your headache persists despite over the counter treatment, it could be an early sign of coronavirus. And for more regular COVID news delivered right to your inbox, .
What Is The Treatment
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we consider each individuals presentation: their specific symptoms and how these affect their activity levels and overall wellbeing.
Fatigue can interfere with every aspect of day-to-day life, so learning how to cope with it, and feeling confident with helpful strategies, may help to reduce the impact of the fatigue.
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What Patients Can Learn From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is still a long way to go in figuring out what long COVID is and how it affects people’s bodies, let alone predicting how long it could be until symptoms go away, if they ever do.
Alison Sbrana knows better than most people what that “if” means.
She has myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome . It’s a disease with a lot of symptoms that overlap with long COVID.
Sbrana knows what it’s like to cope with getting sick and never recovering. It is part of the reason she is a board member of Body Politic, a health justice organization that runs a support group for people with long COVID.
You’re Also Experiencing Sensory Or Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Though headaches sometimes present as one of the earliest symptoms of coronavirus, there are two other types of symptoms that often follow suit. “COVID-19 related headaches were more closely associated with anosmia/ageusia and gastrointestinal complaints,” the study explains.
If you notice that your headache is paired with even mild iterations of these symptoms, it’s definitely time to get a COVID test. And to decode your gastrointestinal issues, check out This Is How to Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is COVID, Doctors Say.
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This Is How To Tell If Your Fatigue Could Be Covid Doctors Say
If you are feeling more tired than usual right now, you’re not alone. The important thing is identifying why that’s the case. Any number of thingsfrom stress to exercise to depressioncould be causing your exhaustion, including COVID-19. In fact, it’s one of the most common symptoms of the disease, medical experts say. For example, Robert A. Salata, MD, program director of the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine& Global Health, told the Cleveland Clinic that he estimates some element of fatigue exists in 75 percent of coronavirus patients.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19 just because you are feeling more worn out than usual. As previously mentioned, plenty of things could be responsible for draining your energy. You just need to know how to determine what those might be. To help you out with that, here’s how you can tell if your fatigue could be COVID, according to doctors. And for clarification on another symptom, This Is How to Know If Your Stuffy Nose Could Be COVID.
This Is What Long Covid Feels Like Fatigue Dizziness Brain Fog And Muscle Spasms
Australia is preparing to “live with the virus” but Freya, Judy and Adam already know what that feels like. COVID-19 left them with long-term health issues and nowhere to turn for answers.
When the novel coronavirus began to spread across the world in February 2020, Freya Sawbridge was caught in a bind.
The 27-year-old was living in Scotland, but when businesses and borders began to close she packed up and flew home to Auckland, New Zealand. On arrival, she felt feverish and couldn’t smell or taste food.
In those early months of COVID-19, every new symptom made global headlines.
Freya got tested and the result came back positive. Panic began to set in.
“I was in the first wave,” she says.
“There weren’t many people that had had it by that stage, so I knew no-one could tell me anything about it, no-one could offer me any real guidance because it was a new disease.
“No-one can tell you anything about it or when it might end. Youre just existing in the unknown.”
Freya found herself on a vicious merry-go-round of symptoms fever, sore throat, dizziness, muscle spasms, numbness, chest pains and fatigue. The symptoms kept coming around and around and around.
After 12 days, she stabilised, but four days later the pains returned with a vengeance.
It would be a sign of things to come. Freya would relapse five more times over the next six months.
The symptoms would come and then dissipate…
“…it was just a cycle like that.”
The memory loss was especially unnerving.
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