What Everyone Should Know About Coronavirus Symptoms

Photo by Hananeko_Studio / Shutterstock.com

Officially named COVID-19, a novel coronavirus disease has been sweeping across the globe and shutting down everything from professional sports seasons to entire countries.

As of Friday, there were more than 140,000 confirmed cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, with more than 1,200 cases and more than 30 deaths in the United States.

Public health officials have said the situation will only get worse before it gets better.

“I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) told members of Congress on Wednesday, according to an MSN report.

Whether COVID-19 has hit your community already or may be on the way, read on for everything you need to know about the symptoms and when to see the doctor.

What are the symptoms of this coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

Harvard Health Publishing, a division of Harvard Medical School, also lists the following as common symptoms:

  • Body aches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. But in severe cases, the illness can cause pneumonia, severe respiratory syndrome and kidney failure. And even without symptoms, an infected person can transmit COVID-19 to someone more vulnerable.

Do symptoms of this coronavirus worsen over time?

They can, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Just as with the flu, coronavirus symptoms can progress from mild to life-threatening in some cases.

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, who treated the first U.S. case of COVID-19, told CNBC that her patient’s condition began to worsen on day nine of the illness.

At that time, the person developed pneumonia and shifted from cold-like symptoms to shortness of breath and a cough. He was given supplemental oxygen, received an experimental antiviral treatment and has since recovered.

How long does it take for coronavirus symptoms to appear?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, but that is based on the incubation period seen in past cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a related viral respiratory illness.

Recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates that the median incubation period for COVID-19 is 5.1 days.

Who is most at risk for severe symptoms of the coronavirus?

Older adults and those with chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes seem to be most at risk, according to the CDC.

The agency also says there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to the disease, and most infected children have mild symptoms such as a runny nose, fever and cough.

When should you see a doctor about possible coronavirus symptoms?

The Mayo Clinic recommends contacting your doctor immediately if you have COVID-19 symptoms and have possibly been exposed to the disease.

Meanwhile, the CDC suggests monitoring symptoms at home and contacting your physician if they worsen. However, the CDC says to seek immediate medical care if you have “emergency warning signs” such as the following:

  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain/pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Both the CDC and WHO recommend staying home if you feel unwell and contacting your doctor by phone for guidance before heading to a clinic. Be sure to let your physician know if you have traveled internationally in recent months or have had contact with a traveler.

Mild cases may resolve on their own without treatment, but call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

For the latest news on the novel coronavirus and how it may impact your family and finances, subscribe to the Money Talks News newsletter or follow us on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Big-Ticket Things You Should Never Buy

In this week’s podcast: Are you wasting big money on these common purchases?

8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money

These are simple solutions for life’s irritations.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.