From infection to recovery: how the symptoms of Covid-19 change day after day
For 80% of people, coronavirus infection is safe. But to know when to seek help is worth everything, writes Lifehacker.
Scientists do not yet fully understand what SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 coronavirus is and how to deal with COVID ‑ 19, the disease that it causes. But it is already clear how exactly in most cases the ailment develops and in what time period its symptoms occur.
We give the timeline of the average COVID ‑ 19 - by day from the moment of infection. Do not miss important signs of the disease.
An accurate diagnosis can only be made by a doctor and only on the basis of a test. If you have coronavirus symptoms, contact your doctor first.
Infection. The risk of catching the virus is above all somewhere in the crowd, at the checkout counter of a supermarket, in a subway car. Or, for example, in personal contact with a person who recently returned from abroad. SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 is transmitted primarily by airborne droplets, and close contact (less than 2 meters away) is the most common route of infection.
It may take 2 to 14 days for the first symptoms to appear. In some cases, the incubation period lasts up to 27 days - the period, presumably, depends on the characteristics of a particular person. However, such a long period is extremely rare.
Most often, COVID ‑ 19 makes itself felt approximately 5 days after infection.
We proceed from this figure in further calculations.
Digestive symptoms. Although the WHO considers them uncharacteristic for coronavirus (after all, the infection affects mainly the respiratory tract), there is evidence that stomach problems occur in every second patient.
In most cases, patients complain of:
- loss of appetite;
- abdominal pain.
Please note: these symptoms are not yet a sign of illness. The stomach can hurt for a variety of reasons. Another thing is if, against the background of digestive disorders, signs characteristic of coronavirus infection appear.
There are key symptoms of coronavirus. In the vast majority of cases, there are three of them:
- Temperature increase up to about 38–39 ° С.
- Dry cough.
Symptoms are similar to those that appear with the flu. And this is one of the main problems in the diagnosis of COVID ‑ 19. There are no characteristic symptoms that would immediately distinguish coronavirus infection from normal seasonal SARS. This is not to say: “If you have a runny nose, this is definitely not a coronavirus.” Or: "If you have a dry cough, but the temperature is not high, this is exactly the usual SARS."
Key symptoms of coronavirus may be accompanied (or may not be accompanied) by additional:
- stuffy nose;
- sore throat;
- wet cough with sputum;
- muscle and joint pain.
In some cases, COVID ‑ 19 is completely easy and almost asymptomatic. And sometimes it manifests itself with non-standard signs. For example, complete or partial loss of smell - anosmia. This was reported by experts of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology.
“Anosmia was the main symptom in 30% of patients in South Korea who have the disease easily,” says Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society and professor of rhinology at King's College London.
Be that as it may, with a mild course of COVID ‑ 19, approximately 4–7 days after the onset of symptoms, the patient becomes better. The man is recovering. Such lucky statistics - 80% of the total number of cases.
But in 20% of all cases, the process is difficult. And the disease manifests itself with additional symptoms.
About a week after the first signs of infection, the condition of some patients worsens dramatically. There are breathing problems:
- severe shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing;
- painful, constricting sensation in the chest;
- extreme weakness, blurred consciousness;
- bluish lips, pallor.
Such symptoms suggest that severe pneumonia develops. The lungs are damaged and the person experiences oxygen starvation. Urgent hospitalization is required.
Treatment of such patients may be delayed for a week or two and require oxygen therapy (inhalation of air with high oxygen content).
Three quarters of patients who have developed viral pneumonia are slowly starting to recover.
But a quarter (up to 6% of the total number of cases) develop a most dangerous complication - acute respiratory distress syndrome. In this case, the immune cells that must fight the infection inside the lungs go crazy and begin to attack healthy tissue, including.
The patient’s condition deteriorates sharply, he loses the ability to breathe on his own and needs to be connected to a ventilator.
Mechanical ventilation is an extreme measure. Which, moreover, does not always help: half of the patients connected to the device still die. In most cases, this occurs on the 14–19th day after infection.
But it helps some mechanical ventilation. The condition of the sick is improving. True, lung injuries and the disorders caused by them - respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and others - do not go away.
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