Many people who catch COVID-19 — maybe as many as 40%, by some estimates — never develop noticeable symptoms. They don’t run a fever. They don’t cough or feel short of breath, and they don’t get the strange and numerous other symptoms that can be a sign of infection like frostbite-like bumps on the skin, diarrhea, or the loss of smell or taste.
Even though you may feel fine, or asymptomatic, COVID-19 is affecting lungs and lung function of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Inflammation can be seen on CAT Scans and there is a concern for children who have had COVID-19 that it will affect future lung function. The term “ground-glass opacities” describes what doctors are seeing in affected lungs. If the lungs are being affected, chances are that the heart is as well. We won’t know the long-term effects of asymptomatic COVID-19 until more studies can be made. (Goodman 2020)
The clinical course of patients with asymptomatic infection remains somewhat mysterious.
There may be substantial under reporting of infected patients using the current symptom-based surveillance and screening. (Walker 2020)
Mild Coronavirus Symptoms
By mild, we might imagine symptoms typical of a cold or the flu. But for many, the symptoms of mild COVID-19 are not what any of us would usually call “mild.”
In coronavirus vocabulary, “mild” means that you don’t have a life-threatening illness requiring hospitalization. With these milder symptoms, you should stay home, rest, and avoid contact with others so you don’t spread the virus. Some of the typical symptoms of Mild COVID-19 are as follows:
- Fever is common,100.4°F or higher, lasting a few days to many
- Tiredness and weakness are severe causing a need to sleep up to 20 hours a day
- Loss of appetite, loss of smell, or loss of taste
- Nausea, diarrhea, or both, are often experienced by mild COVID-19 patients
- Muscle aches, especially in the upper body and neck, with headache
- A runny nose or sore throat
- It often takes a full 10 to 14 days to feel well again, and sometimes more.
Generally, a mild to moderate case of COVID-19 will run its course in about two weeks, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. (WHO, 2020)
According to data from the CDC, 80% of laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases exhibited mild to moderate symptoms. (CDC, 2020)
If you are experiencing mild symptoms, increase social distancing efforts, and self-quarantine until you can be tested. That is the only way to be sure you have the virus.
Always remember mild symptoms can turn into severe symptoms. Most people infected with the coronavirus, start to feel symptoms around day 5.
Symptoms can be vague to begin with but may get worse as the illness progresses. Days 5-8 usually are when symptoms start to turn serious.
When Symptoms Worsen
If you experience any of the following symptoms, there is a high chance you could be developing life-threatening COVID-19 and must seek medical attention immediately:
- New or worsening breathlessness that does not settle
- Inability to walk around your home, shower, or dress without getting out of breath
- Bluish lips or tongue
- New confusion or drowsiness
These symptoms are a sign of low blood oxygen. This is due to low oxygen levels. (WebMD, 2020)
If you have other symptoms that would usually worry you, such as chest pains, severe headaches, seizures, or weakness in your face, arms, or legs, then you need to get urgent medical attention. Medical professionals don’t have an exhaustive list of symptoms.
Be Your Own Advocate
COVID-19 is a virus we have no prior medical history with. There are still unknowns. Medical professionals are doing their very best to diagnose and treat those affected, but we are still learning about the disease. It is important if you have underlying health conditions that affect your heart, lungs or biologically systemic such as lupus, that you are tested periodically. Do not become lax with masking up, washing your hands and social distancing. Be sure if you have symptoms or come in contact with someone who has a known case of COVID-19 that you get tested. Your health and well-being are in your hands and we must advocate for ourselves and for the health of our loved ones and family.
Walker, M. (2020, August 24). Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients May Shed Virus Even Longer. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/87926
Goodman, B. (2020, August 11). Asymptomatic COVID: Silent, but Maybe Not Harmless. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200811/asymptomatic-covid-silent-but-maybe-not-harmless
“The Other Side of COVID-19: Milder Cases, Recovery.” N.p., 24 Mar. 2020. Web. 19 Aug. 2020. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200324/the-other-side-of-covid-19-milder-cases-recovery#1
Ries, Julia. “What It’s Like to Have a ‘Mild’ Case of COVID-19.” Healthline. Healthline Media, 16 July 2020. Web. 19 Aug. 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-its-like-to-survive-covid-19
“Home Care for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 and Management of Their Contacts.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2020. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/home-care-for-patients-with-suspected-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)-infection-presenting-with-mild-symptoms-and-management-of-contacts
“Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html