I'm a Virus Expert and if You Have This Symptom, Get Help
As COVID treks into its third (!) year, the combination of contagious variants and inadequately vaccinated populations leads to thousands of new COVID infections every day. We asked Dr. Soumi Eachempati, former professor of surgery and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Co-founder of Cleared4Work, a COVID safety platform, to detail 5 symptoms that indicate someone might have a severe case of COVID. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Nausea or Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are not generally thought to indicate the presence of COVID-19 but they are actually very frequent early symptoms of the disease. The receptors that allow the coronavirus to enter the lungs are also very prominent in the gastrointestinal tract. After these latter receptors are invaded in the upper gastrointestinal tract, the victim can experience a multitude of symptoms including nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea can also be an early sign of COVID-19 as it also results from the virus infiltrating the gastrointestinal tract. Poor hand washing can be a risk for diarrhea, which can happen without other symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Interestingly, adults tend to experience diarrhea more than children.
Chest pain can be one of the most serious indicators of a major COVID-19 infection. Advanced COVID-19 infections can be accompanied by blood clots anywhere in the body. Chest pain can occur after a blood clot goes to the lungs and could result in a sudden loss of oxygen. Chest pain in COVID-19 can also have other concerning implications such as the presence of a heart attack or even something more nonspecific such as rib muscle pain from excessive coughing.
Confusion is another sign of a potentially urgent situation involving COVID-19. Confusion results from decreased blood flow to the brain and can happen after severe dehydration or sepsis. Additionally, other significant causes of confusion in COVID-19 can be any low blood flow situation such as a heart attack or a stroke from a blood clot to the brain.
Discoloration of Skin, Lips, or Nail Beds
Discoloration of skin, lips, or nail beds could also be signs of a profound COVID-19 condition. Discoloration of the skin could result from microscopic blood clots and is most likely seen in the hands and feet. A dark blue or purplish color in the lips and the extremities also could be seen in a low blood oxygen state and can sometimes be a grave sign that someone is very sick.
Last Word From the Doctor
COVID-19 is very commonly associated with flu-like symptoms and other symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections and colds. Common symptoms include fevers, chills, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, fatigue and muscle aches. A new loss of taste or smell has also been well described and followed for COVID-19 since the original infections. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Dr. Soumi Eachempati is a former Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College where he worked from 1998-2017. Among his many accolades, Dr. Eachempati was also the Director of both the Surgical ICU as well as Trauma at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Center. He also received an appointment in the Division of Public Health. Dr. Eachempati is a Co-Founder and CEO of Cleared4Work.
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