News of the coronavirus seems to get worse every day, despite two vaccines signaling "the light at the end of the tunnel." American deaths tied to COVID-19 surpass 3,000 daily, and a new mutation of the virus, apparently more contagious (and possibly on its way to America), has sent the U.K. into a strict lockdown through Christmas. So what are the warning signs that you may have severe COVID? Read on to see the CDC's list of symptoms that require emergency care—"If someone is showing the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care immediately," says the agency— and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Might Feel Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest
"Chest pain also can be the result of a cardiac issue or due to a non-cardiac cause, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a muscle or skeletal problem in the chest, or even a symptom of COVID-19," reports Practical Pain Management. If you feel it, seek medical attention immediately as it could be a heart issue.
You Might Feel Trouble Breathing
"The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs and respiratory system, sometimes resulting in significant damage," writes Peiting Lien, DPT, PT in Hopkins Medicine. "COVID-19 often leads to pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe lung injury."
"Shortness of breath is not usually an early symptom of COVID-19, but it is the most serious. It can occur on its own, without a cough. If your chest becomes tight or you begin to feel as if you cannot breathe deeply enough to fill your lungs with air, that's a sign to act quickly, experts say," reports WRCB TV. "If there's any shortness of breath immediately call your health care provider, local urgent care or the emergency department," American Medical Association president Dr. Patrice Harris tells the station. "If the shortness of breath is severe enough, you should call 911," Harris added.
You Might Feel New Confusion
"COVID-19 also has been reported to cause confusion in older people, especially those with severe infections," reports the Mayo Clinic. This can also happen to people of all ages; the virus doesn't just infect your lungs; it can attack your brain.
You May Have an Inability to Wake or Stay Awake
If you cannot wake up, or find yourself unable to stay awake, it could be due to a lack of oxygen indicating you have a virus. Long-term fatigue can also indicate you have post-COVID Syndrome. "Brain fog, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating," Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the International AIDS Conference. "So this is something we really need to seriously look at because it very well might be a post-viral syndrome associated with COVID-19."
You May Have Bluish Lips or Face
"Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. Most of the time, nearly all red blood cells in the arteries carry a full supply of oxygen. These blood cells are bright red and the skin is pinkish or red," reports Mt. Sinai. "Blood that has lost its oxygen is dark bluish-red. People whose blood is low in oxygen tend to have a bluish color to their skin. This condition is called cyanosis."
You May Also Experience the Following More Common Symptoms
According to the CDC, "People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19."
How to Survive This Pandemic
"This is not a complete list of possible symptoms," says the CDC. "Call your primary care provider for any other symptoms that seem severe or are a concern to you." As for yourself, follow the public health fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.