If Your Symptoms Appear in This Order, You May Have Severe COVID
Are your symptoms following this progression?
Though the SARS-CoV-2 virus is notoriously unpredictable, doctors and researchers have begun to crack the code. By tracking when symptoms tend to appear over the course of infection, they now have a clearer picture of whether or not a patient may develop severe COVID. As Swapna Reddy, MD, a gastroenterologist at The Oregon Clinic explained to the Portland NBC News affiliate KGW8, many severe COVID patients experience symptoms in a similar order (though not all, of course). Here is what you should be looking out for if you want to know if your symptoms could lead to a serious case. And for more tell-tale signs of coronavirus, check out If You Have These 2 Subtle Symptoms, There's a Good Chance You Have COVID.
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Loss of appetite
According to Reddy, patients tend to present with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms first. These early GI symptoms can start with something as minor as loss of appetite. Want regular COVID updates delivered right to your inbox? Sign up for our daily newsletter.
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Next, Reddy says, GI symptoms tend to get more severe, like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
A November study published in the journal Abdominal Radiology showed that while up to half of COVID patients experience at least one gastrointestinal symptom, roughly 20 percent say their GI symptoms are the only symptoms. And for more on your stomach pains, check out This Is How to Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is COVID, Doctors Say.
If your condition begins to improve, you may be fortunate enough to have a milder case of COVID that's ultimately limited to the GI tract. But, "when you have GI symptoms that then progress to high-fever … those sometimes can actually signify that you can get more moderate to severe disease," Reddy said. And for more factors that put you at risk of a bad case of the virus, check out If You Have This Blood Type, You're at a High Risk of Severe COVID.
Shortness of breath
Reddy also pointed out that if your GI symptoms develop into respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath, that could also be the sign of something more serious. "So, you want to pay attention to that and you definitely want to report that to your health care professional," she explained. And for more on who is likely to get you sick, check out This Is the Person Who Is Most Likely to Give You COVID, Study Finds.