Skip to content

I'm a Doctor and These COVID Symptoms Scare Me

Be aware of these signs.

"No matter what we did, we just couldn't catch up." This is how Dr. Rajnish Jaiswal remembers the first wave of COVID-19 cases. "We didn't have doctors. We didn't have nurses. We didn't have enough room." Dr. Jaiswal is an ER Doctor based in New York City with 14 years of experience who was working on the frontline in America's busiest Emergency Departments during the COVID-19 pandemic." Eventually, Dr. Jaiswal got the coronavirus by himself but luckily he recovered. Read on to find out which COVID symptoms frighten Dr. Jaiswal the most—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Change in Alertness

Vertigo illness concept. Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

"Change in behavior or Altered Mental Status is a clinical finding that portends a worsening of the infection as the disease or its complications may be spreading directly to the brain or causing enough damage to compromise the blood supply and blood oxygen in the body," says Dr. Jaiswal. It can manifest with the patient "feeling groggy or drowsy, unable to be woken up from sleep, confusion."


Low Oxygen Levels

Nurse placing an oxygen mask on the face of a patient in hospital.

"Low Oxygen levels also known as Hypoxia, can indicate a substantial spreading of the virus to the lungs causing enough inflammation to compromise the essential function of breathing. The body can only function so long with low oxygen levels before it goes into failure and possibly death," says Dr. Jaiswal. "Oxygen saturation less than 90% (measured by a pulse oximeter) could mean that patients may go into respiratory failure," he adds.

RELATED: Here's the Truth About the Virus Now, Says Former Surgeon General


Shortness of Breath—Even at Rest

Sick woman feeling chest pain and wearing face mask in a lobby at medical clinic.

"Worsening shortness of breath, or severe dyspnea, is a grave clinical sign in any respiratory illness as it means you literally have minutes before the body shuts down. Patients require immediate and emergency care in this situation," says Dr. Jaiswal.

RELATED: The #1 Cause of "Deadly" Cancer Says Science


Persistent Vomiting and Dehydration

young woman with nausea in all denim outfit sitting on bed
Shutterstock / New Africa

Severe dehydration accelerates the underlying disease processes by compromising blood supply to all vitals organs as well as allowing the virus to replicate unchecked causing a vicious circle that can lead to catastrophic consequences," says Dr. Jaiswal. 

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear Like This


How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more about Emilia