In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that may indicate a need for immediate medical care. While many individuals with COVID-19 are able to recover at home with rest and medication, there are certain symptoms that should not be taken lightly.
Shortness of breath and trouble breathing are red flag symptoms that should prompt a visit to the emergency room, according to Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, the national medical director at One Medical. These symptoms may indicate that the virus is affecting the lungs, and immediate medical attention is necessary.
Chest pain and blue-ish colored lips are also indicators of a severe COVID-19 infection and should be taken seriously. If you have a pulse oximeter or a smartwatch that measures oxygen saturation and notice low levels, it is important to seek medical help.
Other concerning symptoms include lightheadedness, confusion, dizziness, and high fevers over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. These symptoms may require immediate medical attention, especially for individuals who are at a high risk of developing severe disease.
If symptoms worsen, such as a worsening sore throat, cough, fever, or headache, it is important to inform your doctor. This could be a sign that the COVID infection is evolving into something more serious, such as bacterial pneumonia.
For individuals who are eligible, there are low-cost and even free COVID testing and treatment options available. The federal government has expanded its Home Test to Treat program, offering free telehealth consultations and treatment for COVID-19 and flu for adults over the age of 18. Additionally, the government has reopened its free COVID test program, allowing tests to be ordered online.
In addition to seeking medical care, it is crucial to continue practicing preventive measures such as vaccination, masking, and social distancing. Vaccination can reduce the severity of the illness, and it is never too late to get vaccinated. The Swiss cheese model of COVID defense, which includes wearing masks, maintaining distance, and staying up to date on vaccinations, is still important in protecting against the virus and other respiratory viruses circulating during the winter.
Overall, it is essential to pay attention to symptoms and seek medical help when necessary. Informing your doctor about your COVID infection can help monitor your progress and ensure appropriate treatment.