How Long Can Your COVID-19 Symptoms Last?
COVID-19 is not the worst illness on the planet.
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It’s definitely not our only reason of concern either right now, if we consider our nation’s economical and political situation.
However, it seems like it’s all around us – sometimes even too close to feel safe.
By now, I think all of us know someone who is or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. If you’ve been there, you probably know what it’s like and I sincerely hope it’s been an easy journey for you.
For those of us who haven’t contacted the virus yet, one of our main concerns is the severity of symptoms. How will our bodies take the SARS-CoV-2 virus? How long will the symptoms last, if we will have any?
After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did issue a recent discovery stating that COVID-19 can have a long-term negative impact even in healthy adults.
Today, we’ll explore the coronavirus symptoms, how long they last and what you can do to ease your condition.
What are all of the COVID-19 signs?
One of the main reasons why diagnosing COVID-19 in a medical exam alone is that it can present a wide range of symptoms – or none at all.
Here are the new coronavirus symptoms we know of so far:
- Fever and/or chills
- Heavy breathing
- Muscle pain and/or fatigue
- Nose congestion
- Sore throat
- Loss of smell or taste
How long do these COVID-19 symptoms last?
If you’re going to experience any signs caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they will show up anytime between two and 14 days after exposure.
According to Richard Watkins, infectious disease physician and associate professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, the duration of symptoms can vary widely. While some people only feel bad for a couple of days, others can go through painful symptoms way longer than two weeks.
In fact, infectious disease expert David Cennimo, MD, says that COVID-19 patients with complications such as pneumonia can have their symptoms last even more than six weeks.
Another recent survey conducted by the CDC found that 26% of young adults (18 to 34 years old) experienced COVID-19 symptoms longer than two weeks since being exposed. The same can be said for +50-year-olds, with more than 47% of them experiencing cough, fatigue and heavy breathing for more than 14 days.
How long are you contagious after exposure?
As a general rule, the CDC reports that those diagnosed with COVID-19 are only contagious for 10 days since developing the first symptoms. After this period of time, their physical state usually improves and they can no longer transmit the virus either.
Dr. Cennimo explains that patients were repeatedly tested to see when the virus is no longer contagious. If a patient had two negative tests 24 hours apart, they were considered ‘cleared.’ However, things are a bit different now that the public healthcare system is overwhelmed.
Now, he says, ‘no one wants to use that many tests on one person.’
Can your symptoms last longer?
Raymond Casciari, MD and pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, advises all of his patients not to panic even if their symptoms last longer than 10 days.
This effect is fairly common to other viral illnesses too, such as the flu. Even then, patients can sometimes have symptoms last anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 months; that’s because, in general, viruses can attack many types of cells in the body.
However, it’s also true that COVID-19 can be more aggressive than other coronaviruses. Specialists have encountered cases when severe symptoms such as extreme fatigue, heart problems and neurological affections lasted for months at end.
These people are known as “COVID-19 long-haulers” and some health clinics have even opened a special place for them.
One of these places, for example, is in New York City – one of the most deeply affected cities in our country. Mount Sinai has recently opened the Center for Post-COVID Care, a place designed to support those with long-lasting symptoms who still need care. According to a press release, the project is also an opportunity for doctors to find out more about the illness.
What can you do about long-lasting symptoms?
If your COVID-19 symptoms are lasting longer than you’ve thought, but overall you are feeling better, there shouldn’t be any reason for concern.
However, Dr. Casciari warns that if you had started to get better and your condition suddenly worsens, it’s probably time to see a doctor.
Sometimes, this can be a sign that you’ve contacted a secondary infection such as pneumonia or serious complications like blood clots. According to infectious disease specialist William Schaffner, doctors are most concerned about patients who experience heavy breathing. Reportedly, this can be a sign of lung inflammation, pneumonia or something worse.
Before we end this post, I have a small request. Right now, we’re all struggling with COVID-19. If you have gone through this illness, please take one minute of your time to share your experience with the virus. It might literally be life saving to other people in the near future. Thank you and stay safe!
If you’re looking for more useful coronavirus-related content, check out our posts below:
- Your Top 5 Coronavirus Vaccine Questions Answered Here
- Stop Letting These 4 Coronavirus Myths Fool You!
- COVID-19 Symptoms May Show Up in This Order, Researchers Find