If You Have Any of These COVID Symptoms, the CDC Says to Go to the ER
These five severe coronavirus symptoms are an indication that you need emergency medical attention.
The coronavirus manifests itself differently in every patient. Some people who test positive for COVID-19 have severe symptoms that end up requiring hospitalization, while others remain asymptomatic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that someone who presents with relatively mild coronavirus symptoms isolate at home for at least 10 days, instead of going to the hospital. But how do you know if you need to go to the ER for a severe case of COVID-19? According to the CDC, if you have any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you have these symptoms or know someone who is experiencing these symptoms, the CDC says to call 911 or your local emergency facility.
"If you have a bad cough, chest pains, shortness of breath, and are unable to walk much without needing breaks; or if you have co-morbidities [COPD, diabetes, heart disease] and have symptoms of COVID 19, I would absolutely recommend coming to the ER," Brandon Lawrence, MD, an ER doctor in Arizona, told Health.
However, you don't need to visit the ER if you're experiencing non-emergency symptoms—including fever, cough, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, or diarrhea, the CDC says. Instead, Annie Sadosty, MD, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician, says that you should contact your primary care provider in these cases.
"If you merely are concerned that you may have COVID-19 and think that you need testing, there are other venues that I would encourage you to access by calling your primary care provider, who can then direct you to the many different options, whether in the clinic, in a drive-thru testing area, or otherwise," Sadosty said. And for more coronavirus signs, check out 13 Coronavirus Symptoms That Are More Common Than a Sore Throat.